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Public Release of Linkable 10% sample of Medicare Benefits Scheme (Medicare) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) Data

Page last updated: 11 August 2016

On 1 August 2016, the Department of Health released approximately 1 billion lines of de‑identified historical health data relating to approximately 3 million Australians on data.gov.au.

The information released includes details on services provided to Australians by doctors, pathologists, diagnostic imaging and allied health professionals together with details of subsidised scripts.

Research institutions, health professionals and universities will have access to linkable, individual Medicare and PBS claims data for a random 10% sample of Australians.  The data release includes historical Medicare data (from 1984) and PBS data (from 2003) up to 2014.

To ensure that personal details cannot be derived from this data, a suite of confidentiality measures including encryption, perturbation and exclusion of rare events has been applied. This will safeguard personal health information and ensure that patients and providers cannot be re‑identified.

The data sets have been designed to enable other datasets to be linked in the future, for example hospital data, immunisation data. The addition of these data sets will greatly increase the range of health data available and open new areas of analysis.

The release comprises separate files for the two types of service information (Medicare and PBS), as well as a separate patient demographic file. Documentation, metadata and user information is also available.

Scope: MBS Calendar Years 1984 to 2014; PBS Calendar Years 2003 to 2014.

Further information is available from the Health Analytics Branch (data.release@health.gov.au)