Several factors influence the classification of emergency care activity in Australia. Patient presentations are grouped into categories which reflect:
- The type of visit of the patient presentation (i.e. whether it is an emergency presentation; whether it is a planned return visit or pre-arranged admission)
- What happens to the patient once the ED presentation is finished (e.g. the patient may be admitted to hospital; be discharged or transferred to another hospital; or may choose to leave before treatment is completed)
- How urgently the patient needs to receive treatment (based on the triage score given to the patient upon initial assessment)
- The diagnosis given for the patients’ presentation.
Patient presentations to emergency services are classified using Urgency Disposition Groups (UDGs), whereas patient presentations to emergency departments are classified using Urgency Related Groups (URGs). UDGs group patient presentations on the basis of the type of visit, episode end status and triage; whereas URGs group patient presentations on the basis of type of visit, episode end status, triage and diagnosis (represented by a major diagnostic block (MDB)).
The main difference between these two classification systems is that URGs use an additional category to further identify similar patient presentations when compared to UDGs (i.e. major diagnostic blocks). Because of this, the URG classification has more groups to classify patient presentations into. For example, the URG classification (version 1.4) has 114 groups, whereas the UDG classification (version 1.3) has 17 groups.
Urgency Related Groups and Urgency Disposition Groups - specifications and groupers