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Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups

The Australian Refined Diagnosis Related Groups (AR-DRGs) is a classification system, which provides a clinically meaningful way to relate the number and type of patients treated in a hospital to the resources required by the hospital. AR-DRGs group patients with similar diagnoses requiring similar hospital services. 

Episodes of admitted acute care are assigned with disease and intervention codes by health information managers or clinical coders. AR-DRGs are then assigned based on these codes and a number of other routinely collected variables including: age, sex, mode of separation, length of stay, newborn admission weight and hours of mechanical ventilation.  

This process of assigning patient episodes to an AR-DRG is complex and is carried out using software that contains the AR-DRG algorithms, referred to as a 'grouper'.

AR-DRGs are used to calculate public hospital funding on an activity basis. They are also used for:

  • performance management
  • benchmarking 
  • facilitation of payment of services in the private healthcare sector
  • education 
  • epidemiology
  • research into the quality of healthcare and patient safety
  • health service planning.

The AR-DRG classification system is currently updated every three years along with the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision, Australian Modification, Australian Classification of Health Interventions, Australian Coding Standards classification (ICD-10-AM/ACHI/ACS). Both classification systems are updated on a regular basis to ensure they are fit for purpose and remain clinically current. The schedule for upcoming releases is outlined below.

Classification system Release date Proposed implementation date
AR-DRG Version 11.0 Mid 2022 July 2023

    Requests for content change 

    You can suggest changes to the AR-DRG and ICD-10-AM/ACHI/ACS classification systems via public submissions through the Australian Classification Exchange (ACE)

    We encourage you to learn more about the requirements and process before lodging your submission. 

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