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NHS continues improvement in preventing deaths

Posted Dec 13th, 2012

Today the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) will release its annual Hospital Standardized Mortality Data. We are pleased to announce that Niagara Health System continues steady improvement year-over-year in reducing the number of preventable deaths in hospital.

The following chart details the organization’s performance on this important measure since 2007.

graph showing a decrease in Hospital Standardized Mortality Rate over fiscal years from 2007-2012

“Our organization-wide culture of quality, and continuous improvement in patient safety is clearly working,” said Interim President and CEO Dr. Sue Matthews. “Our staff, physicians, and volunteers are deeply committed to making our hospitals the safest in Canada, and we are taking large steps in the right direction.”

CIHI Changing HSMR Baseline

This year is also significant as CIHI has adjusted the HSMR Baseline. As CIHI explains, hospitals across Canada have increased their focus on patient safety, and as a result the previous baseline did not reflect the national average for hospital mortality. As of February 2012, HSMR results are calculated with an updated baseline using 2009–2010 data. Most hospitals were below 100 using the previous baseline (calculated from 2004–2005 data). With the updated baseline, about 50% of hospitals are below 100 and about 50% are above 100.

Here is how the new Baseline affects reporting of Niagara Health System’s performance (the blue row indicates the new baseline year):

Year Old Method New Method Difference
2007/2008 114 126 12
2008/2009 109 121 12
2009/2010 105 112 7
2010/2011 93 101 8
2011/2012 87 95 8

(Data source: CIHI)

Calculating HSMR

Hospital Standardized Mortality Ratio (HSMR) tracks changes in hospital mortality rates to reduce mortality in hospitals, and improve quality of care. The reported number indicates the ratio of actual to expected deaths in acute care hospitals.

HSMR is calculated by dividing Observed deaths [actual acute inpatient deaths] by Expected deaths [expected number of deaths based on mortality in the base year], and multiplying that figure by 100.

This information has been publicly released by CIHI every year since 2007.

For more information, please consult the CIHI website:

Niagara Health System