Classification overview

Classifications aim to provide the health care sector with a nationally consistent method of classifying all types of patients, their treatment and associated costs in order to provide better management, measurement and funding of high quality and efficient health care services.

The classifications are comprised of codes that provide clinically meaningful ways of relating the types of patients treated by a hospital to the resources required. They enable hospital and health service provider performances to be measured by creating a link between the patients treated and the resources consumed for providing those treatments. This allows hospital and health service provider output to be measured, which forms the crucial data for policies on funding, budgeting and setting costs.

Classification systems enable clinical information that is written in medical charts to be converted into manageable data categories. Rules for collecting and coding clinical data need to be the same across Australia to ensure that all jurisdictions are obtaining and providing information the same way. Effective clinical classification systems ensure that hospital data is grouped into appropriate classes, which in turn contributes to the determination of a national efficient price for public hospital services.

The Independent Health and Aged Care Pricing Authority (IHACPA) undertakes reviews and updates of existing classifications and is also responsible for introducing new classifications for those service categories without an existing classification. This is an important role as having nationally adopted classifications for services provided in public hospitals will allow Australian governments to provide funding to public hospitals based on the activity based funding mechanism.

There are six patient service categories in Australia currently which have classifications being used nationally or in development stage.

The table below shows the classifications used across each of the patient service categories.

The classifications used across each of the patient service categories
Service category Classification Current version*
Admitted care International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM), Australian Classification of Health Interventions (ACHI), Australian Coding Standards (ACS) ICD-10-AM/ACHI/ACS Twelfth Edition
Admitted acute care Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups classification (AR-DRGs) AR-DRG Version 10.0
Subacute and non-acute care Australian National Subacute and Non-Acute Patient classification (AN-SNAP) AN-SNAP Version 4.0
Emergency care Emergency Care ICD-10-AM Principal Diagnosis Short List (EPD Short List) EPD Short List Twelfth Edition
  Australian Emergency Care Classification (AECC) AECC Version 1.0
  Urgency Disposition Groups (UDG) UDG Version 1.3
Non-admitted care Tier 2 Non-Admitted Services Classification (Tier 2) Tier 2 Version 9.0
Mental health care Australian Mental Health Care Classification (AMHCC) AMHCC Version 1.0
Teaching, training and research Australian Teaching and Training Classification (ATTC) ATTC Version 1.0

*For information on which versions of the classifications are used for reporting national activity data, please see IHACPA's Three Year Data Plan.

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