3.2 Neck ultrasound and thyroidectomy, 18 years and over

The Third Australian Atlas of Healthcare Variation investigates healthcare use in four clinical areas. Neck ultrasound and thyroidectomy are included in Chapter 3, Thyroid investigations and treatments. 

Website-section-openers-thyroid

Why is this important?

Neck ultrasound can be used to investigate suspected disease of the thyroid gland, including the examination of thyroid nodules (or lumps) for possible cancer. Nodules found to be malignant are usually treated with thyroidectomy (removal of the thyroid) with a combination of other treatments, depending on the characteristics of the cancer. Some small thyroid cancers (thyroid papillary microcarcinomas) have a very low risk of harm if left untreated. The benefit to patients of detecting and managing these is unclear.

Australia and other developed countries have seen a substantial rise in thyroid cancer incidence in the past three decades. In some developed countries, the incidence rise has been clearly driven by increased use of ultrasound and investigation of small low-risk thyroid cancers, which has led to a rise in thyroidectomy. While detection of more small, lowrisk thyroid cancers does not fully explain the rising incidence of thyroid cancer in Australia, experiences from other countries highlight the importance of ensuring appropriate use of ultrasound for investigating the thyroid, and thyroidectomy. 

Mapping use of ultrasound for thyroid cancer is not currently possible in Australia because of limitations with the national data sources. For example, the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) dataset does not have a specific item for ultrasound for thyroid investigation. As a first step, the Atlas maps rates of neck ultrasound and thyroidectomy to identify potential unwarranted variation and to highlight opportunities for improving data collection on thyroid cancer investigations and treatments.

Maps and graphs - neck ultrasound

Rates by local area

Rates by state and territory

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_Neck_ultrasound/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_Neck_ultrasound/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 neck ultrasound:

 

About the data

About the data  - Neck ultrasound 

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:

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

Rates are based on the number of MBS-subsidised services for neck ultrasound 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 a service 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.

Data were not analysed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status as this information was not available for the MBS data at the time of publication.

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 neck ultrasound 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_Neck_ultrasound/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_Neck_ultrasound/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 neck ultrasound:

 

About the data

About the data  - Neck ultrasound 

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:

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

Rates are based on the number of MBS-subsidised services for neck ultrasound 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 a service 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.

Data were not analysed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander status as this information was not available for the MBS data at the time of publication.

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 neck ultrasound per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over, 2016-17

Maps and graphs - thyroidectomy

Rates by local area

Rates by state and territory

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_Thyroidectomy/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_Thyroidectomy/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 thyroidectomy:

 

About the data

About the data - thyroidectomy

Data are sourced from the National Hospital Morbidity Database, and include admitted patients in both public and private hospitals.

Rates are based on the number of hospitalisations for thyroidectomy per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over, over the three-year period 2014–15 to 2016–17. Data are aggregated over three years to provide sufficient numbers to support reporting at the local level. The number of hospitalisations and the summed population over three years are used to provide an average rate. This is comparable to a rate based on data collected over one year.

Because a record is included for each hospitalisation for the procedure, rather than for each patient, patients hospitalised for the procedure more than once in the three financial years will be counted more than once.

The analysis and maps are based on the residential address of the patient and not the location of the hospital.

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

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 thyroidectomy hospitalisations per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over, 2014-15 to 2016-17 

Rates by local area

Rates by state and territory

//viz.aihw.gov.au/t/Public/views/SOP_Thyroidectomy/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_Thyroidectomy/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 thyroidectomy:

 

About the data

About the data - thyroidectomy

Data are sourced from the National Hospital Morbidity Database, and include admitted patients in both public and private hospitals.

Rates are based on the number of hospitalisations for thyroidectomy per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over, over the three-year period 2014–15 to 2016–17. Data are aggregated over three years to provide sufficient numbers to support reporting at the local level. The number of hospitalisations and the summed population over three years are used to provide an average rate. This is comparable to a rate based on data collected over one year.

Because a record is included for each hospitalisation for the procedure, rather than for each patient, patients hospitalised for the procedure more than once in the three financial years will be counted more than once.

The analysis and maps are based on the residential address of the patient and not the location of the hospital.

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

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 thyroidectomy hospitalisations per 100,000 people aged 18 years and over, 2014-15 to 2016-17