1 in 17 hospital stays in 2021-22 involved unintended harm. Specifically, CIHI’s Hospital Harm measure shows that the rate of overall hospital harm increased to 6 per 100 hospitalizations in 2021-22 (a second year of increase), compared to a pre-pandemic rate of 5.4 per 100 in 2019-20 – a rate that had been stable since it was first reported in 2014. Harm rates were mainly driven by healthcare- and medication-associated conditions and healthcare-associated infections.
The Hospital Harm measure reflects hospitalizations with at least 1 occurrence of unintended 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 highlights what people working in healthcare and those receiving care can do.
Canadian Patient Safety Week 2022 runs from October 24 to October 28, 2022, and the theme is “Press Play on Safety Conversations” focusing on safer care of older adults through safety conversations and actions. Conversations can change the way we think about safety. Ask questions, listen, and act. We can help with resources and opportunities.
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Healthcare Excellence Canada and CIHI collaborate on hospital harm
This collaboration between the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) and Healthcare Excellence Canada 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.