Microdata and TableBuilder: Patient Experiences, Australia

Data on access and barriers to, and experiences of, health care services including GPs, specialists, dental professionals, hospitals and EDs

Accessing the data

The Patient Experiences Survey collected information from people aged 15 years and over about their experiences with selected health services for their own health in the last 12 months. See Patient Experiences for summary results, methodology and other information.

The following microdata products are available from this survey:

  • DataLab - detailed microdata is available in DataLab for the following survey years: 2018-19, 2019-20, 2020-21 and 2021-22
  • TableBuilder - produce your own tables and graphs. TableBuilder is available for the following survey years: 2016-17

See the microdata data item list included with this release.

Compare access options to see what's right for you or apply for access.

Data and file structure

Data items include: 

  • Demographics, such as age, sex and country of birth
  • Geography, including Primary Health Network
  • Labour force characteristics
  • Education: current and highest
  • Income: personal and household
  • Self-assessed health status
  • GP services, including after hours
  • Prescriptions for medications
  • Three or more health professionals
  • Medical specialists
  • Dental professionals
  • Long term health conditions
  • Pathology and imaging tests
  • Hospital emergency department and admissions
  • Mental healthcare affordability
  • Telehealth
  • Other health professionals
  • Private health insurance
  • Harm and harmful side-effects

Refer to the data item list in the Data downloads section for detailed information on items available. Use the data item list to confirm whether the dataset includes what you need for your research before purchasing your subscription.

The file is structured as a single level person file.

Using DataLab

The DataLab environment allows real time access to detailed microdata files from the Patient Experiences Survey.

The DataLab is an interactive data analysis solution available for users to run advanced statistical analyses, for example, multiple regressions and structural equation modelling. Controls in the DataLab have been put in place to protect the identification of individuals and organisations. All output from DataLab sessions is cleared by an ABS officer before it is released.

For information about all of the data items available in the DataLab please see the Microdata data item list.

For more information, including prerequisites for DataLab access, please see the DataLab page.

Using TableBuilder

TableBuilder User Guide

The TableBuilder User Guide provides information about how to create basic tables, custom groups, graphs and large tables. It also includes practical examples and video tutorials.


When tabulating data in TableBuilder, person weights are automatically applied to the underlying sample counts. Weighting is the process of adjusting results from a sample survey to infer results for the total population. To do this, a 'weight' is allocated to each sample unit. The weight is the value that indicates how many population units are represented by the sample unit.

Table populations

The population relevant to each data item is identified in the data item list and should be kept in mind when extracting and analysing data. The actual population estimate for each data item is equal to the total cumulative frequency minus the 'Not applicable' category.

Generally, all populations, including very specific populations, can be 'filtered' using other relevant data items. For example, if the population of interest is 'Employed persons', any data item with that population (excluding the 'Not applicable' category) could be used.

Not applicable categories

Most data items included in the TableBuilder file include a 'Not applicable' category. The classification values of these 'Not applicable' categories, where relevant, are shown in the data item list in the Downloads tab. The 'Not applicable' category generally represents the number of people who were not asked a particular question or the number of people excluded from the population for a data item when that data was derived (e.g. Year of Arrival in Australia is not applicable for people born in Australia).

Continuous data items

TableBuilder includes a number of continuous variables: 

  • They can have a response value at any point along a continuum.
  • Some continuous data items are allocated special codes for certain responses (e.g. 000 = 'Not applicable').
  • When creating ranges in TableBuilder for such continuous items, special codes will automatically be excluded. Therefore the total will show only 'valid responses' rather than all responses (including special codes).
  • Continuous items with special codes have a corresponding categorical item on the Person level that provides the ability to display data for the special code.
  • Any special codes for continuous data items are listed in the data item list in the Data downloads section.

Multiple response data items

A number of data items allow respondents to report more than one response. For these items, a person is counted against each category they responded to and consequently the sum of the categories may be different to the total. An example of such a data item is 'Long term health conditions'. For this data item, respondents can report more than one of the Long term health conditions they had, that lasted, or was likely to last, six months or more.

Multiple response data items are identified in the data item list, as they include 'multiple response' in the data item label. The data item list can be accessed from the Data downloads section.


A confidentiality process called perturbation is applied to the data in TableBuilder to avoid releasing information that may lead to the identification of individuals, families, households, dwellings or businesses. See Confidentiality in the TableBuilder user guide.

Data downloads

Microdata data item list

Explanatory notes

Show all

See Patient Experiences, Methodology for information on:

  • Data collection
  • Processing the data
  • Comparing the data
  • Data release
  • Glossary
  • Abbreviations

Post release changes

23/11/2022 - This additional information release contains data collected over the 2021/22 financial year and can be accessed using DataLab.

5/12/2021 - As advertised in the main release of this publication on 2 December 2021, this additional information release contains data collected over the 2020/21 financial year and can be accessed using DataLab.

Previous catalogue number

This release previously used catalogue number 4840.0.

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