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 External link, opens in new window, is a project on patient safety in Canada’s acute care hospitals. The resulting report Measuring Patient Harm in Canadian Hospitals, introduces a new measure of potentially preventable harm in hospitals. This measure is linked to the Hospital Harm Improvement Resource External link, opens in new window, which contains evidence-informed practices that can reduce the occurrence of harm captured by the measure.

Learn more about this project, including updated results, at the Hospital Harm Project webpage.

We welcome your feedback and questions

  • For questions about patient safety, contact us at hsp@cihi.ca
  • Have a data inquiry or research question? Make a custom data request.

Patient safety information

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:

Your Health System: In Depth

  • In-Hospital Sepsis
  • Obstetric Trauma (With Instrument)
  • Potentially Inappropriate Medication Prescribed to Seniors  
  • Falls in the Last 30 Days in Long-Term Care
  • Worsened Pressure Ulcer in Long-Term Care

Explore Your Health System: In Depth

OECD Interactive Tool: International Comparisons

  • Foreign Body Left In
  • Post-Op Pulmonary Embolism: Hip and Knee
  • Post-Op Sepsis: Abdominal
  • Obstetric Trauma: Instrument
  • Obstetric Trauma: No Instrument

Explore OECD Interactive tool: International Comparisons

We welcome your feedback and questions on indicators. Contact us at hsp@cihi.ca.

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) External link, opens in new window 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. More information can be found at CIHI’s Data Holdings webpage.