CIHI Celebrates 25 Years


In 1988, the National Health Information Council (NHIC) was formed by the Conference of Deputy Ministers to improve health information in Canada.

In 1991, the Wilk Report — Health Information for Canada, 1991: A Report by the National Task Force on Health Information — recommended creating a national health information coordinating council and an independent institute for health information.

1994 to 2006

On February 1, 1994, CIHI opened its doors through the merger of the Hospital Medical Records Institute (HMRI) and The Management Information Systems (MIS) Group. That year, Rhéal Leblanc became the first CEO. CIHI started with 3 databases: the Discharge Abstract Database (DAD), Ontario Trauma Registry (OTR) and Canadian Organ Replacement Register (CORR).

In 1995, a privacy, confidentiality and security policy was adopted.

CIHI released its first report on organ replacements in 1994.

In 1996, CIHI went online with its first website. The first bilateral agreements were signed with 9 provinces and territories. (CIHI now has one with every province and territory.)

In 1998, Richard Alvarez was named CEO.

In 1999, the Canadian Population Health Initiative (CPHI) was established.

CIHI released its first reports on nurses in 2000 and on drug expenditures in 2001. Also in 2001, the first employee survey showed high staff satisfaction. Also, work started on implementing the ICD-10-CA (International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, 10th Revision, Canada) and the Canadian Classification of Health Interventions (CCI). Canada was the first country with an electronic format.

In 2004, Glenda Yeates started as CEO.

In 2005, the Montréal office opened.

In 2006, CIHI produced more than 50 analytical products and was featured as one of Ottawa’s top 15 employers.

2007 to 2012

In 2007, CIHI Portal went online. The CMG+ grouping methodology was implemented (except in Quebec), developed with ICD-10-CA/CCI data; Canada was the only country with methodology that addressed both higher-cost patients and data quality. That year, CIHI produced its first report on hospital standardized mortality ratio (HSMR); eHSMR helps track mortality rates.

In 2008, after more than a decade of sounding out “C–I–H–I,” pronunciation officially changed to “KAI–HI.”

In 2009, the Patient Cost Estimator was released — an innovative online tool that provides data on the costs of many inpatient health services. CIHI took to Twitter that year; its first tweet was about drug spending.

In 2010, John Wright started as CEO.

In 2011, CIHI released a major study: Health Care Cost Drivers: The Facts. CIHI’s Wait Times web tool displayed 4 years of comparable provincial data and allowed for trending over time.

In 2012, Lean process improvements began. And submission to the Canadian Joint Replacement Registry (CJRR) was mandated for the first time in Canada, starting with Ontario and British Columbia.

2013 to 2019

In 2013, CIHI’s first mobile app was developed with the Collaborative for Excellence in Healthcare Quality. An interactive website — — was created for the general public. The DAD was made available to researchers and students at post-secondary institutions through the Data Liberation Initiative.

In 2014, David O’Toole took the helm as new CEO. And CIHI was awarded the Patient Classification Systems International Innovation Award.

In 2015, CIHI began a new patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) program of work and hosted a pan-Canadian PROMs forum. Funding was received to support federal initiatives related to prescription drug abuse; CIHI started publicly releasing opioid data. Also that year, CIHI’s first-ever Trends in Income-Related Health Inequalities in Canada report was released, as well as the supporting Health Inequalities Interactive Tool. CIHI was ISO-recognized for having met and exceeded the world’s highest standard for information security protocols.

In 2016, the Canadian Patient Experiences Reporting System (CPERS) data holding was added. Our project Care Planning Tools: Changing Practice Among Alberta First Nations Communities won awards from the Canadian Health Informatics Association and the Information Technology Association of Canada.

In 2017, CIHI committed to a meaningful partnership with the British Columbia First Nations Health Authority (BC FNHA) to work together to improve the health and well-being of First Nations individuals, families and communities in B.C. and to contribute to the broader national process of reconciliation.

In 2018, CIHI reported weekly data on emergency department visits for opioid overdoses to Ontario’s provincial government and expanded that coverage across Canada. CIHI began working closely with federal, provincial and territorial governments to develop a set of common indicators focused on measuring pan-Canadian access to mental health and addictions services and to home and community care. Also that year, CIHI released its first fully digital product, Dementia in Canada. Version 2018 was released of the ICD-10-CA/CCI classifications, the Canadian Coding Standards, and the DAD and NACRS (National Ambulatory Care Reporting System) abstracting manuals.

In 2019, CIHI was recognized as one of the National Capital Region’s Top Employers. The annual editorial competition, which forms part of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, identifies those employers that lead in attracting and retaining employees.