New measure links data to patient safety improvement efforts 

October 26, 2016 — A national picture of patient harm in acute care hospitals (outside Quebec) is now available, thanks to a new measure developed by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI). The joint report Measuring Patient Harm in Canadian Hospitals, released today, reveals that in 2014–2015 harm was experienced by patients in 1 of every 18 hospital stays, or 138,000 hospitalizations. Of those, 30,000 (or 1 in 5) involved more than 1 form of harm. The rate (5.6%) has remained stable over the past few years. This work reflects a new approach in helping Canadian hospitals to measure and improve patient safety.

The new data reflects hospitalizations with at least 1 occurrence of unintended harm — harm that could possibly be prevented with the use of known, evidence-based practices. The harm must have occurred after admission and required treatment or extended the admission.

“Health system leaders need timely, cost-effective solutions to measuring patient safety,” said Kathleen Morris, vice president of Research and Analysis at CIHI. “The new measure is based on existing data, making it practical to track improvement over time.”

Also launched today is the Hospital Harm Improvement Resource, developed by CPSI to complement the new measure. This online compilation of resources provides evidence-based practices specific to the 31 different types of harm included in the measure and, as such, links measurement to improvement.

Together, the measure and improvement resource serve as a new, readily available tool that hospitals can use to improve the safety of their patients and reduce the occurrence of harm. “With the improvement resource, patient safety teams and clinicians can now spend less time researching what to do, and more time planning and implementing changes that are known to work,” said Chris Power, CEO of CPSI.

“While most patients experience safe care in Canada, we must continually strive to do better,” said the Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health. “High-quality data is an important tool in assisting our improvement efforts, and we thank CIHI and CPSI for working together toward this goal.” 

“One avoidable harmful event is one too many. HealthCareCAN‎ welcomes the release of this report and working with CPSI and CIHI to pursue the common goal of quality and reliability for patients,” said Bill Tholl, CEO of HealthCareCAN, a national organization that speaks for Canada’s hospitals and works to foster informed and continuous improvement in health care.

About CIHI and CPSI

The Canadian Institute for Health Information is an independent, not-for-profit corporation responsible for providing and publicly reporting on health data and information that improves outcomes in health system performance and population health across the country. CIHI recently renewed its mandate to reinforce its commitment to stakeholders and to ensure that it responds to their needs rapidly with innovative tools and approaches.

The Canadian Patient Safety Institute is a not-for-profit organization that exists to raise awareness and facilitate implementation of ideas and best practices to achieve a transformation in patient safety. Funded by Health Canada, CPSI reflects the desire to close the gap between the health care we have and the health care we deserve.