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More hospitals preventing more deaths

For the second year in a row, rates of preventable patient deaths have fallen at just about every hospital in the Greater Toronto Area.

For the second year in a row, rates of preventable patient deaths have fallen at just about every hospital in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Canadian Institute for Health Information ­(CIHI) on Thursday released its annual report on hospital standardized mortality ratios (HSMR).

“About 50 per cent of the hospitals that contribute to the HSMR data in Ontario have lower HSMR scores, lower from baseline,” said Kira Leeb, director of health systems analysis at CIHI. “The scores suggest there are absolute improvements in care.”

Health-care experts say the decline suggests the public reporting of death rates, which began four years ago, has improved patient safety in hospitals.

Before 2007, Canadian hospitals were not required to publicly report their in-hospital death rates. At the time, experts said the public release would force hospital officials to examine their internal practices and improve patient care.

The HSMR is a ratio of actual deaths to expected deaths, and is adjusted according to the type of patients a particular hospital treats. A score greater than 100 — considered the national average — means the number of deaths in that particular hospital is more than expected; lower than 100 means the number of deaths is less than expected.

 
 
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