Notes on the data: Avoidable deaths by sex and cause
Avoidable deaths by sex and cause, 2016 to 2020
Policy context: In 2010, the National Healthcare Agreement (NHA) included a performance indicator called Potentially Avoidable Deaths (PI-20). The specification for this indicator was endorsed by the Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council in 2009 based on advice from the National Health Information Standards and Statistics Committee (NHISSC).
On 4 December 2013, NHISSC agreed to the re-establishment of the Potentially Preventable Hospitalisations/Potentially Avoidable Deaths (PPH/PAD) Working Group to finalise specification of this performance indicator for the 2015 NHA report. Throughout 2014, work was done by the PPH/PAD Working Group, with further revisions by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), and including additional NHISSC comments from several states. It also included an examination of the international work in avoidable mortality.
Deaths determined to be avoidable are limited to those before 75 years of age, other than for Acute lymphoid leukaemia/Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia, where the limit is 0 to 44 years.
The data presented in this dataset are those listed in the PI-16 Potentially avoidable deaths, 2020.
Deaths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people determined as potentially avoidable represent 79.3% of all deaths at all ages; this is 2.5 times the proportion for non-Indigenous Australians.
For deaths data released since 2007, the ABS has applied a staged approach to the coding of cause of death which affects the number of records available for release at any date. In general, the latest year’s data is preliminary, the second latest is revised and the data for the remaining years is final. For further information about the ABS revisions process see the following and related sites http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/3303.0Explanatory+Notes12012.
However, data published here are from the following releases: 2016 and 2017, final; 2018, revised; and 2019 and 2020, preliminary.
Deaths are defined as avoidable in the context of the present health system, based on the NHA PI-16 Potentially avoidable deaths, 2020.
Not all of the causes of avoidable mortality are shown in this atlas as some have too few cases to be reliable indicators at the small area level.
Note: Some of the selected avoidable mortality indicators comprise the same condition(s)/ ICD codes as the selected premature mortality indicators presented in the data/ maps.
Almost all deaths in Australia are registered. However, Indigenous status is not always recorded, or recorded correctly. The incompleteness of Indigenous identification (referred to as completeness of coverage) means that the number of deaths registered as Indigenous is an underestimate of the actual number of deaths which occur in the Indigenous population. It should also be noted that completeness of coverage is likely to vary between geographical areas.
While there is incomplete coverage of Indigenous deaths in all state and territory registration systems, some jurisdictions have been assessed by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) as having a sufficient level of coverage to enable statistics on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mortality to be produced. Those jurisdictions are New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.
Potentially avoidable mortality (0-74 years)
ICD-10 codes/ specifications in scope are as specified below
Cause of death group
Limits (age, sex)
|Selected invasive infections
|A38-A41 A46, A48.1, G00, G03, J02.0, J13-J16, J18, L03
|Viral pneumonia and influenza
|Acute lymphoid leukaemia/Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia
|Diseases of the circulatory system
|Rheumatic and other valvular heart disease
|Hypertensive heart and renal disease
|Ischaemic heart disease
|I50, I51.1, I51.2, I51.4, I51.5
|Diseases of the genitourinary system
|Diseases of the respiratory system
|Diseases of the digestive system
|Peptic ulcer disease
|Maternal & infant causes
|Complications of perinatal period
|Complications of pregnancy, labour or the puerperium
|Selected external causes of morbidity and mortality
|Suicide and self-inflicted injuries
|Misadventures to patients during surgical and medical care
|Medical devices associated with adverse incidents in diagnostic and therapeutic use
|Surgical and other medical procedures as the cause of abnormal reaction of the patient, or of later complication, without mention of misadventure at the time of the procedure
|Other external causes of morbidity and mortality
|Exposure to inanimate mechanical forces
|Exposure to animate mechanical forces
|Accidental drowning and submersion
|Other accidental threats to breathing
|Exposure to electric current, radiation and extreme ambient air temperature and pressure
|Contact with heat and hot substances
|Contact with venomous animals and plants
|Exposure to forces of nature
|Accidental poisoning by and exposure to noxious substances
|Overexertion, travel and privation
|Accidental exposure to other and unspecified factors
|Event of undetermined intent
|Legal interventions and operations of war
|Drugs, medicaments and biological substances causing adverse effects in therapeutic use
|Sequelae of external causes of morbidity and mortality
Geography: Data available by Indigenous Area, Primary Health Network, Quintile of socioeconomic outcomes (based on IRSEO) and Remoteness Area
Numerator: Avoidable deaths for the above categories, Aboriginal population aged 0 to 74 years
Denominator: Aboriginal population aged 0 to 74 years
Detail of analysis: Average annual indirectly age-standardised rate per 100,000 Aboriginal population (aged 0 to 74 years); and/or indirectly age-standardised ratio, based on the Australian standard
Source: Data compiled by PHIDU from deaths data based on the 2016 to 2020 Cause of Death Unit Record Files supplied by the Australian Coordinating Registry and the Victorian Department of Justice, on behalf of the Registries of Births, Deaths and Marriages and the National Coronial Information System. The population is the proportional estimated resident population (erp), developed by PHIDU, 2016 to 2020 average: click herefor more details.