Most Canadians who access health services receive safe care. However, sometimes there are adverse effects to receiving care — unintended harm associated with the delivery of care that can result in prolonged hospital stay, disability or death.

CIHI is working to help understand the issues related to patient safety and the provision of safe care, and is undertaking a large body of work in this area. We are also helping to measure improvements in the safety of care provided. Our work includes a number of initiatives, from the development and reporting of indicators across the continuum of care to other quality and patient safety analyses and initiatives.

One initiative, in partnership with the Canadian Patient Safety Institute, is a project on patient safety in Canada’s acute care hospitals.

The resulting report introduces a new measure of potentially preventable harm in hospitals. The measure is linked to an improvement resource containing evidence-informed practices that can reduce the occurrence of harm.

The report, Measuring Patient Harm in Canadian Hospitals, provides an overview of the status of these patient safety events in Canada  (outside of Quebec *), and identifies how the data and associated improvement resource can be used for improvement.

The Hospital Harm Improvement Resource is a compilation of resources to complement the Hospital Harm measure. It links measurement and improvement by providing evidence-informed resources that will support patient safety and improvement efforts.

* Data from Quebec is excluded due to methodological issues.

We welcome your feedback and questions

Patient safety information

 Key projects
 Reports and analyses
 Databases and data sources
 Related resources

Patient safety indicators available from CIHI:

CIHI reports on a number of indicators related to patient safety. Results are available publicly from the following links, and methodological notes are available in the Indicator Library:

OECD Interactive Tool: International Comparisons

  • Foreign Body Left In
  • Post-Op Pulmonary Embolism: Hip and Knee
  • Post-Op Sepsis: Abdonminal
  • Obstetric Trauma: Instrument
  • Obstetric Trauma: No Instrument
OECD Interactive tool: International Comparisons

Additional hospital indicators

  • In-Hospital Hip Fracture in Elderly (65+) Patients
  • Nursing-Sensitive Adverse Events for Medical Patients
  • Nursing-Sensitive Adverse Events for Surgical Patients
  • Obstetric Trauma: Vaginal Delivery Without Instrument
View additional hospital indicators

Continuing Care Reporting System (CCRS)

Percentage of Residents Who Had a Newly Occuring Stage 2 to 4 Pressure Ulcer

CCRS Quick Stats

We welcome your feedback and questions on indicators. Contact us at

Key projects on patient safety

Databases and data sources for patient safety

The National System for Incident Reporting (NSIR) is a free, web-based reporting system used by Canadian health care facilities to securely and anonymously share, analyze and discuss medication and IV fluid incidents.

NSIR data and analyses inform quality improvement activities at all levels — from ward or unit projects to pan-Canadian initiatives — to foster improvements in health care delivery.

The Canadian Medication Incident Reporting and Prevention System (CMIRPS) is a collaborative pan-Canadian program of Health Canada, the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI), the Institute for Safe Medication Practices Canada (ISMP Canada) and the Canadian Patient Safety Institute (CPSI).

CIHI has a number of other health services databases that contain quality-of-care information. These are described in detail in Information on Types of Health Care.

Metadata about patient safety

Metadata is information about data. It helps users understand and interpret data from a specific source.