4839.0 - Patient Experiences in Australia: Summary of Findings, 2011-12 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/11/2012   
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Dental professional

A specialist in the field of oral hygiene. This includes dentists, dental hygienists and dental specialists such as periodontists, orthodontists, and oral and maxillofacial surgeons.

Harm or harmful side-effect

The terms 'harm' and 'harmful' were left to the respondent's interpretation. If the respondent sought clarification, interviewers were instructed to include any harm experienced or side-effect the respondent perceived as harmful caused by any kind of medical treatment.

Hospital admission

The formal acceptance by a hospital or other in-patient health care facility of a patient who is to be provided with a room and continuous nursing service. This includes respondents who have been to a hospital emergency department and have also been admitted to hospital.

Hospital emergency department visit

Any time a person went to an emergency department for their own health, whether it was within normal GP practising hours or after hours.

Imaging test

Imaging tests or diagnostic imaging include all tests that produce images or pictures of the inside of the body in order to diagnose diseases. Tests involve the use of radiant energy, including x-rays, sound waves, radio waves, and radioactive waves and particles that are recorded by photographic films or other types of detectors.

Index of disadvantage

This is one of four Socio-economic Indexes for Areas (SEIFAs) compiled by the ABS following each Census of Population and Housing. This index summarises attributes such as low income, low educational attainment, high unemployment and jobs in relatively unskilled occupations. The first or lowest quintile refers to the most disadvantaged areas, while the fifth or highest quintile refers to the least disadvantaged areas. For further information about SEIFAs see SEIFA: Socio-Economic Indexes for Areas on the ABS website.

Long term health condition

A condition that has lasted or is likely to last six months or more. Respondents were specifically asked whether they had any of the following conditions:

  • Arthritis or osteoporosis
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart or circulatory condition
  • Mental illness
  • Long term injury
  • Any other long term health condition.
If respondents sought clarification, interviewers were instructed to include:
  • conditions currently controlled by medication
  • cancer where the respondent was undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy or radiotherapy
  • cancer in partial remission
  • mental illness where the respondent was not currently experiencing an episode.
and to exclude cancer in complete remission, and conditions where a respondent was only taking medication to prevent recurrence of cancer or replace the function of organs removed due to cancer.

Medical specialist

If respondents sought clarification on the definition of medical specialist, interviewers were instructed to advise that medical specialists provide services which are covered, at least in part, by Medicare (e.g. dermatologists, cardiologists, neurologists and gynaecologists).

Pathology test

A laboratory test that includes analysis of specimens such as urine and blood in order to diagnose disease.


The Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) (cat. no. 1216.0) is used by the ABS for the collection and dissemination of geographically classified statistics. The classification divides Australia into six broad regions called Remoteness Areas. The ASGC Remoteness classification was developed by the ABS in response to a demand for a statistical geography that allows quantitative comparisons between 'city' and 'country' Australia, where the defining difference between 'city' and 'country' is physical remoteness from goods and services.

Self-assessed health status

A person's impression of their own health against a five point scale from excellent through to poor.

Statistical significance

Differences between population estimates are said to be statistically significant when it can be stated with 95% confidence that there is a real difference between the populations (see paragraph 13 of the Technical Note for more information).

Urgent dental care

The term 'urgent' was left to the respondent's interpretation. If the respondent sought clarification, interviewers were instructed to include dental health issues that arose suddenly and were serious (e.g. severe dental pain, bleeding or swelling of the mouth), and to exclude regular dental check-ups.

Urgent medical care

The term 'urgent' was left to the respondent's interpretation. If the respondent sought clarification, interviewers were instructed to include health issues that arose suddenly and were serious (e.g. fever, headache, vomiting, unexplained rash), and that seeing a GP to get a medical certificate for work would not be considered urgent.