Australian Emergency Care Classification

The Australian Emergency Care Classification (AECC) has three hierarchical levels which represent how the classification groups emergency department presentations into end classes. The complexity levels are based on a score assigned to each presentation, which is calculated using variables consisting of the patient’s type of visit, episode end status, triage category, principal diagnosis, transport mode and age.

All emergency care episodes structure

Level 1: Episode type

At this level, end classes are created from visit type and episode end status. They include ‘Not attended by a healthcare professional’, ‘Dead on arrival’ and ‘Planned return visit’. Other emergency care episodes proceed to the next level, categorised by diagnosis.

Level 2: Emergency Care Diagnosis Group

Episodes proceeding to this level are grouped into Emergency Care Diagnosis Groups (ECDG). ECDGs represent clinical conditions managed in emergency care settings.

The Emergency Care International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, Australian Modification (ICD-10-AM) Principal Diagnosis Short List (EPD Short List) Twelfth Edition to ECDG mapping file is available here.

Level 3: Complexity splits

At this level, ECDGs are partitioned into end classes of different levels of complexity, reflecting cost. Complexity splits are based on a score assigned to each episode, which is calculated using the patient’s age group, episode end status, triage category, and transport mode (arrival). Further detail on complexity splitting is provided in the AECC Definitions Manual.

AECC Groupers

EPD Short List Editions Reporting period AECC Version 1.0 Grouper
EPD Short List Twelfth Edition 2023–24 AECC Version 1.0 Grouper Version 1.4 application installation
EPD Short List Eleventh Edition
EPD Short List Tenth Edition
EPD Short List Ninth Edition
2022–23
2021–22
2020–21
2019–20
AECC Version 1.0 Grouper Version 1.3 application installation

Note: The grouper is .exe format hosted on an external fire sharing website Box.com. Some firewalls and virtual private servers (VPS) may block access to this page. Please contact your organisation’s IT support for further information.

Development of the Australian Emergency Care Classification

In 2013, IHACPA commissioned the Investigative review of classification systems for emergency care to assess the suitability of the continued use of the existing classifications. The review concluded that the Urgency Related Groups (URG) and the Urgency Disposition Groups (UDG) classification systems were not suitable for use on an ongoing basis.

In 2016, IHACPA completed the Emergency care costing study and the Emergency care clinician time consensus study undertaken as part of the Emergency care costing and classification project. The studies enabled IHACPA to develop a better understanding of the costs associated with the delivery of emergency care services and to obtain time estimation for emergency care activities and procedures collected in the Emergency care costing study.

The outcome of the investigative review led to the staged development of the AECC. In late 2018, IHACPA finalised Version 1.0 of the AECC in consultation with the Emergency Care Advisory Working Group, the Clinical Advisory Committee and other IHACPA advisory groups. The AECC was approved by the Pricing Authority in July 2019 and implemented for pricing emergency department care from the National Efficient Price Determinations 2021–22, replacing the use of the URG classification. 

IHACPA is currently working with states and territories to determine the feasibility of transitioning emergency services to be priced using the AECC in the future.

Any enquiries related to the AECC should be directed to enquiries.ihacpa@ihacpa.gov.au.

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