Table 1

Description of datasets to be linked*

Dataset name and year of first recordDescription of datasetPurpose of datasetKey variables of interest
Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS, 2002)Records for all PBS-listed medicines for which the Commonwealth pays a subsidy (2002–2012). After 2012, all PBS dispensings are included.To identify the cohort and the types of opioids and other medicines prescribed.PBS-item number, date of prescribing and dispensing, patient copayment, cost to government and provider location.
Medicare Benefits Scheme (MBS, 2002)Claims for all medical and hospital services subsidised by the Commonwealth including doctor visits, pathology tests and imaging.To identify the use of medical and hospital services.MBS-item number, date of service, schedule fee, provider charge, benefit paid, patient copayment and provider location.
Australian Cancer Database (ACD, 1982)All notifications of primary malignant neoplasms.To identify individuals treated with opioids for cancer pain.Date of diagnosis, topography and morphology codes and degree of spread.
National Death Index (NDI, 2002)Death registrations and causes of death.To calculate mortality rates for the cohort and censor individuals.Date of death, underlying and contributing causes of death.
NSW Admitted Patient Data Collection (NSW APDC, 2001); ACT Admitted Patient Care (ACT APC, 2004)Census of all inpatient episodes in all NSW/ACT public and private hospitals, public multi-purpose services and private day procedure centres.To identify harms and risks associated with prescribed opioids.Dates of admission, separation and procedures, diagnostic and procedure codes, admission costs, separation mode, hospital type and  hospital location.
NSW Emergency Department Data Collection (NSW EDDC, 2005); ACT Emergency Department Data Collection (ACT EDDC, 2005)All visits to participating emergency departments in NSW/ACT.To identify harms and risks associated with prescribed opioids.Dates of presentation and separation, referral source, arrival mode, visit type, triage, diagnosis and separation mode.
Pharmaceutical Drugs of Addiction System (PHDAS, 1985) Changed to Electronic Recording and Reporting of Controlled Drugs (ERRCD) in September 2016. Opioid substitution therapy (methadone/buprenorphine) treatment episodes in NSW.To identify individuals with a history of opioid dependence and who subsequently are prescribed opioids. We will also use this as an outcome, examining risk of treatment for iatrogenic opioid dependence.Treatment entry and exit dates and type of medicine authorised.
Mental Health Ambulatory Collection (MH-AMB, 2001)Records on the assessment, treatment, rehabilitation or care of non-admitted mental health patients in NSW.To identify individuals with mental health disorders and their treatment patterns.Date of service, mental health diagnoses and services provided.
  • *Data will be provided from the year indicated. Most collections hold patient demographics including age, sex, location of residence mapped to the socioeconomic80 and remoteness classifications.81

  • ACT, Australian Capital Territory; NSW, New South Wales