A health indicator is a single measure that is reported on regularly and that provides relevant and actionable information about population health and/or health system performance and characteristics. An indicator can provide comparable information, as well as track progress and performance over time.
Health indicators support provinces/territories, regional health authorities and facilities as they monitor the health of their populations and track how well their local health systems function.
They help in monitoring key performance dimensions described in the Health System Performance Measurement Framework, which provides a common approach for managing health system performance across the country.
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Health outcomes information
Our indicators are reported through a number of tools, including
- Your Health System—An interactive website that explores 15 indicators representing 5 themes that Canadians told us were important. The website features key indicators for acute care hospitals, long-term care facilities and health regions
- Health Indicators e-publication—CIHI has partnered with Statistics Canada to produce more than 80 indicators for the health regions, provinces and territories. This free web-based product provides access to a large inventory of regional health indicators.
- Health Indicators—A series of annual reports with selected indicators that measure health status, non-medical determinants of health, health system performance, and community and health system characteristics. Selected indicators include interpretive analysis. (Discontinued, last report is Health Indicators 2013.)
- Wait Time Indicators for Priority Procedures in Canada—Progress on reducing wait times can be tracked using interactive graphics, which display numerous years of provincial data.
- OECD International Comparisons—Use CIHI’s interactive web tool to see how provinces compare with OECD countries on 19 quality of care indicators.
Visit CIHI’s Indicator Library for definitions, methodologies and the location of indicator results on CIHI’s website.
Technical Notes for Health Indicators 2013 contains information on indicators not captured in the Indicator Library.
Cardiac Care Quality Indicators project
The Cardiac Care Quality Indicators project provides information to hospitals on outcomes related to selected cardiac interventions. Cardiac care centres can use this information to compare themselves with other centres across the country and to direct quality improvement efforts.
National consensus conferences on health indicators
In October 2014, CIHI, in partnership with Statistics Canada, held its fourth in a series of national consensus conferences. The last one took place in 2009.
These conferences were convened to develop nationwide priorities on the indicators used by CIHI and Statistics Canada to report on
- The health of Canadians
- The factors that affect our health
- The performance of the health system
View the reports
- Rethink, Renew, Retire: Report From the Fourth Consensus Conference on Evaluating Priorities for Canada’s Health Indicators (2015)
- National Consensus Conference on Population Health Indicators Final Report (1999)
- The Health Indicators Project: The Next Five Years (2005)
- The Health Indicators Project: Report From the Third Consensus Conference on Health Indicators (2009)
New Indicator Development
For information on our upcoming indicators, see our Analytical Plan for 2014 to 2016.
Federal, provincial and territorial reports on comparable indicators
The First Ministers Communiqué on Health in September 2000 directed health ministers to collaborate on the development of a comprehensive framework of jointly agreed-upon comparable indicators that address health status, health outcomes and quality of service, and to report on these indicators regularly. The first report on comparable indicator data was released in 2002; since then, reports have been produced every 2 years. Much of the data in these reports comes from national data sources provided by Statistics Canada, Health Canada and CIHI. To access the reports, please visit Health Canada’s website