3.1 Thyroid function testing, 18 years and over

The Third Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation investigates healthcare use in four clinical areas. Thyroid function testing (thyroid stimulating hormone tests and thyroid function tests) is included in Chapter 3, Thyroid investigations and treatments. 

Website-section-openers-thyroid

Why is this important?

The number of people having thyroid function testing in Australia has increased faster than the rate of population growth. Between 2012 and 2017, the number of people with Medicare Benefits Scheduled (MBS) claims for thyroid function testing increased by 5.7% per year, compared with 1.6% per year growth in the population. The fast growth of thyroid function testing in Australia suggests that there is over-testing. Measuring thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) is recommended as the single first-line test for possible thyroid dysfunction. Thyroid function tests (TFTs) – measuring TSH plus free tri-iodothyronine (T3) and/or free thyroxine (T4) – are recommended only if TSH is abnormal or for investigation of certain conditions.

Maps and graphs - thyroid stimulating hormone tests

Rates by local area

Rates by state and territory

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_Thyroid_SHT/Stateandterritory?iframeSizedToWindow=true&:embed=y&:showAppBanner=false&:display_count=no&:showVizHome=no&:origin=viz_share_link

Rates by remoteness and SES

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_Thyroid_SHT/RemotenessandSES?iframeSizedToWindow=true&:embed=y&:showAppBanner=false&:display_count=no&:showVizHome=no&:origin=viz_share_link

Map of rates across Australia

Download the data

Download the data sheets for thyroid stimulating hormone tests:

 

About the data

About the data 

Data are sourced from the MBS dataset. This dataset includes information on MBS claims processed by the Australian Government Department of Human Services. It covers a wide range of services (attendances, procedures, tests) provided across primary care and hospital settings.

The dataset does not include:

  • for publicly funded patients in hospitals
  • for patients in hospital outpatient clinics where claims are not made to the MBS
  • covered under Department of Veterans’ Affairs arrangements.

Rates are based on the number of MBS-subsidised services for TSH tests or TFTs per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over in 2016–17.

Because an MBS claim is included for each service rather than for each patient, patients who receive any of the services listed in this data item more than once in the financial year will have more than one MBS claim counted.

The analysis and maps are based on the residential address of the patient recorded in the MBS claim and not the location of the service.

Rates are age and sex standardised to allow comparisons between populations with different age and sex structures.

This analysis was not undertaken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status because this information was not available for MBS data at the time of publication.

Episode coning

MBS items for TSH tests and TFTs are subject to episode coning. Episode coning is an MBS funding arrangement that applies to GPs outside hospitals requesting multiple tests for the same patient on the same day. If more than three items are requested by a GP per patient attendance, benefits are paid only for the three items with the highest fees. The arrangement means that, if a test is requested with three other more expensive tests, it is ‘coned out’ and may not be included in the MBS dataset. As the MBS fee for TFTs is higher than for TSH tests, TFT data are less affected by this arrangement.

Data suppression

For all MBS items in the Atlas, some data have been suppressed to manage volatility and confidentiality. This process takes into account the Australian Government Department of Health’s requirements for reporting MBS data (see the Technical Supplement). The process has resulted in particularly marked data suppression for MBS items for thyroid function testing. This is indicated on the maps in grey. Most local areas (Statistical Area Level 3 – SA3) were suppressed to prevent identification of the provider (practitioner or business entity). The effect of data suppression was greatest in outer regional and remote areas.

For TSH tests:

  • Overall, 53 SA3s were suppressed, which represents 16% of all SA3s and 10% of all services
  • 43 SA3s were suppressed to prevent identification of the provider
  • The proportion of SA3s suppressed in each remoteness category was 7% in major cities, 24% in inner regional areas, 26% in outer regional areas and 37% in remote areas.

About the Atlas and how to interpret the data visualisations

This document outlines how to interpret the data correctly and explains the limitations of the data prior to using the Atlas:

Data specifications

Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation 2018: Number of MBS-subsidised services for thyroid stimulating hormone tests per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over, 2016-17 

 

Rates by local area

Rates by state and territory

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_Thyroid_SHT/Stateandterritory?iframeSizedToWindow=true&:embed=y&:showAppBanner=false&:display_count=no&:showVizHome=no&:origin=viz_share_link

Rates by remoteness and SES

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_Thyroid_SHT/RemotenessandSES?iframeSizedToWindow=true&:embed=y&:showAppBanner=false&:display_count=no&:showVizHome=no&:origin=viz_share_link

Map of rates across Australia

Download the data

Download the data sheets for thyroid stimulating hormone tests:

 

About the data

About the data 

Data are sourced from the MBS dataset. This dataset includes information on MBS claims processed by the Australian Government Department of Human Services. It covers a wide range of services (attendances, procedures, tests) provided across primary care and hospital settings.

The dataset does not include:

  • for publicly funded patients in hospitals
  • for patients in hospital outpatient clinics where claims are not made to the MBS
  • covered under Department of Veterans’ Affairs arrangements.

Rates are based on the number of MBS-subsidised services for TSH tests or TFTs per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over in 2016–17.

Because an MBS claim is included for each service rather than for each patient, patients who receive any of the services listed in this data item more than once in the financial year will have more than one MBS claim counted.

The analysis and maps are based on the residential address of the patient recorded in the MBS claim and not the location of the service.

Rates are age and sex standardised to allow comparisons between populations with different age and sex structures.

This analysis was not undertaken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status because this information was not available for MBS data at the time of publication.

Episode coning

MBS items for TSH tests and TFTs are subject to episode coning. Episode coning is an MBS funding arrangement that applies to GPs outside hospitals requesting multiple tests for the same patient on the same day. If more than three items are requested by a GP per patient attendance, benefits are paid only for the three items with the highest fees. The arrangement means that, if a test is requested with three other more expensive tests, it is ‘coned out’ and may not be included in the MBS dataset. As the MBS fee for TFTs is higher than for TSH tests, TFT data are less affected by this arrangement.

Data suppression

For all MBS items in the Atlas, some data have been suppressed to manage volatility and confidentiality. This process takes into account the Australian Government Department of Health’s requirements for reporting MBS data (see the Technical Supplement). The process has resulted in particularly marked data suppression for MBS items for thyroid function testing. This is indicated on the maps in grey. Most local areas (Statistical Area Level 3 – SA3) were suppressed to prevent identification of the provider (practitioner or business entity). The effect of data suppression was greatest in outer regional and remote areas.

For TSH tests:

  • Overall, 53 SA3s were suppressed, which represents 16% of all SA3s and 10% of all services
  • 43 SA3s were suppressed to prevent identification of the provider
  • The proportion of SA3s suppressed in each remoteness category was 7% in major cities, 24% in inner regional areas, 26% in outer regional areas and 37% in remote areas.

About the Atlas and how to interpret the data visualisations

This document outlines how to interpret the data correctly and explains the limitations of the data prior to using the Atlas:

Data specifications

Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation 2018: Number of MBS-subsidised services for thyroid stimulating hormone tests per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over, 2016-17 

 

Maps and graphs - thyroid function tests

Rates by local area

Rates by state and territory

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_Thyroid_function_test/Stateandterritory?iframeSizedToWindow=true&:embed=y&:showAppBanner=false&:display_count=no&:showVizHome=no&:origin=viz_share_link

Rates by remoteness and SES

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_Thyroid_function_test/RemotenessandSES?iframeSizedToWindow=true&:embed=y&:showAppBanner=false&:display_count=no&:showVizHome=no&:origin=viz_share_link

Map of rates across Australia

Download the data

Download the data sheets for thyroid function tests:

About the data

About the data 

Data are sourced from the MBS dataset. This dataset includes information on MBS claims processed by the Australian Government Department of Human Services. It covers a wide range of services (attendances, procedures, tests) provided across primary care and hospital settings.

The dataset does not include:

  • for publicly funded patients in hospitals
  • for patients in hospital outpatient clinics where claims are not made to the MBS
  • covered under Department of Veterans’ Affairs arrangements.

Rates are based on the number of MBS-subsidised services for TSH tests or TFTs per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over in 2016–17.

Because an MBS claim is included for each service rather than for each patient, patients who receive any of the services listed in this data item more than once in the financial year will have more than one MBS claim counted.

The analysis and maps are based on the residential address of the patient recorded in the MBS claim and not the location of the service.

Rates are age and sex standardised to allow comparisons between populations with different age and sex structures.

This analysis was not undertaken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status because this information was not available for MBS data at the time of publication.

Episode coning

MBS items for TSH tests and TFTs are subject to episode coning. Episode coning is an MBS funding arrangement that applies to GPs outside hospitals requesting multiple tests for the same patient on the same day. If more than three items are requested by a GP per patient attendance, benefits are paid only for the three items with the highest fees. The arrangement means that, if a test is requested with three other more expensive tests, it is ‘coned out’ and may not be included in the MBS dataset. As the MBS fee for TFTs is higher than for TSH tests, TFT data are less affected by this arrangement.

Data suppression

For all MBS items in the Atlas, some data have been suppressed to manage volatility and confidentiality. This process takes into account the Australian Government Department of Health’s requirements for reporting MBS data (see the Technical Supplement). The process has resulted in particularly marked data suppression for MBS items for thyroid function testing. This is indicated on the maps in grey. Most local areas (Statistical Area Level 3 – SA3) were suppressed to prevent identification of the provider (practitioner or business entity). The effect of data suppression was greatest in outer regional and remote areas.

For TFTs:

  • Overall, 79 SA3s were suppressed, which represents 23% of all SA3s and 18% of all services
  • 67 SA3s were suppressed to prevent identification of the provider
  • The proportion of SA3s suppressed in each remoteness category was 16% in major cities, 26% in inner regional areas, 36% in outer regional areas and 47% in remote areas.

About the Atlas and how to interpret the data visualisations

This document outlines how to interpret the data correctly and explains the limitations of the data prior to using the Atlas:

Data specifications

Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation 2018: Number of MBS-subsidised services for thyroid function tests per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over, 2016-17 

 

Rates by local area

Rates by state and territory

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_Thyroid_function_test/Stateandterritory?iframeSizedToWindow=true&:embed=y&:showAppBanner=false&:display_count=no&:showVizHome=no&:origin=viz_share_link

Rates by remoteness and SES

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_Thyroid_function_test/RemotenessandSES?iframeSizedToWindow=true&:embed=y&:showAppBanner=false&:display_count=no&:showVizHome=no&:origin=viz_share_link

Map of rates across Australia

Download the data

Download the data sheets for thyroid function tests:

About the data

About the data 

Data are sourced from the MBS dataset. This dataset includes information on MBS claims processed by the Australian Government Department of Human Services. It covers a wide range of services (attendances, procedures, tests) provided across primary care and hospital settings.

The dataset does not include:

  • for publicly funded patients in hospitals
  • for patients in hospital outpatient clinics where claims are not made to the MBS
  • covered under Department of Veterans’ Affairs arrangements.

Rates are based on the number of MBS-subsidised services for TSH tests or TFTs per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over in 2016–17.

Because an MBS claim is included for each service rather than for each patient, patients who receive any of the services listed in this data item more than once in the financial year will have more than one MBS claim counted.

The analysis and maps are based on the residential address of the patient recorded in the MBS claim and not the location of the service.

Rates are age and sex standardised to allow comparisons between populations with different age and sex structures.

This analysis was not undertaken by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status because this information was not available for MBS data at the time of publication.

Episode coning

MBS items for TSH tests and TFTs are subject to episode coning. Episode coning is an MBS funding arrangement that applies to GPs outside hospitals requesting multiple tests for the same patient on the same day. If more than three items are requested by a GP per patient attendance, benefits are paid only for the three items with the highest fees. The arrangement means that, if a test is requested with three other more expensive tests, it is ‘coned out’ and may not be included in the MBS dataset. As the MBS fee for TFTs is higher than for TSH tests, TFT data are less affected by this arrangement.

Data suppression

For all MBS items in the Atlas, some data have been suppressed to manage volatility and confidentiality. This process takes into account the Australian Government Department of Health’s requirements for reporting MBS data (see the Technical Supplement). The process has resulted in particularly marked data suppression for MBS items for thyroid function testing. This is indicated on the maps in grey. Most local areas (Statistical Area Level 3 – SA3) were suppressed to prevent identification of the provider (practitioner or business entity). The effect of data suppression was greatest in outer regional and remote areas.

For TFTs:

  • Overall, 79 SA3s were suppressed, which represents 23% of all SA3s and 18% of all services
  • 67 SA3s were suppressed to prevent identification of the provider
  • The proportion of SA3s suppressed in each remoteness category was 16% in major cities, 26% in inner regional areas, 36% in outer regional areas and 47% in remote areas.

About the Atlas and how to interpret the data visualisations

This document outlines how to interpret the data correctly and explains the limitations of the data prior to using the Atlas:

Data specifications

Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation 2018: Number of MBS-subsidised services for thyroid function tests per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over, 2016-17