One in 17 hospital stays in 2022-23 involved unintended harm. CIHI’s Hospital Harm measure shows that the rate of potentially preventable harm to patients in Canadian hospitals remained at 6 per 100 hospitalizations, the third year in a row with a higher rate compared to pre-pandemic numbers. Prior to 2020, the rate had been stable between 5.3 and 5.4 percent since 2014.
The Hospital Harm Measure reflects hospitalizations with at least one occurrence of potentially preventable harm — harm that could be prevented with the use of known, evidence-based practices.
Healthcare Excellence Canada’s President and CEO, Jennifer Zelmer, responds to the latest data and the importance of supporting people working in hospital settings and across the continuum of care to enable safer care.
Join us October 23 – 27 for Canadian Patient Safety Week 2023 to explore a new approach to safer care and how we can all make an even bigger difference every day.
If you want to retain and support people working in healthcare, join the Health Workforce Innovation Challenge – you can receive monetary awards, build capacity and share learnings with peers across the country.
The collaboration between the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and Healthcare Excellence Canada on hospital harm is aimed at answering the question, "How often do patients experience harm in hospital?"
This initiative uses administrative data to develop a patient safety measure for inpatient care.
There are three outputs from this collaboration.
Hospital harm captured by this indicator is defined as the rate of acute care hospitalizations with at least one occurrence of unintended harm during a hospital stay that could have been potentially prevented by implementing known evidence-informed practices. While not all instances of harm captured by this indicator can be prevented, adoption of evidence-informed practices can help to reduce the rate of harm.
Harm is captured only when it:
The Hospital Harm Measure is intended to monitor variations in patient safety in inpatient acute care settings at the national level across facilities over time. It is designed to help identify patient safety improvement opportunities in hospitals.
Results for categories and types of harm, aggregated at the national level (outside of Quebec), can be found in the data tables on CIHI’s website.
Healthcare Excellence Canada has developed the Hospital Harm Improvement Resource – a compilation of resources to support patient safety and improvement efforts.
This analytical report, Measuring Patient Harm in Canadian Hospitals, shares the approach to measuring hospital harm, provides an overview of the status of these patient safety events in Canada (outside of Quebec ¹) and identifies how the data and associated improvement resource can be used for ongoing improvement.
The report includes:
¹ Data from Quebec are excluded due to methodological issues.
CIHI has also worked with stakeholders to further refine the methodology used to calculate hospital harm. The most current methodology can be found in CIHI's Indicator Library.