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Fewer deaths, more lives saved: The Ottawa Hospital is one of nation’s top “rescue” centres

The Ottawa Hospital is one of the best in the country for rescuing patients from life-threatening injuries or illnesses, according to a new scorecard that tracks the performance of Canadian hospitals.

The hospital’s standardized mortality ratio, which measures how frequently patients die unexpectedly, has been declining steadily in recent years and is now tied among large teaching hospitals for first place, alongside Vancouver General Hospital.

The finding is published in, a searchable website that includes detailed information about the quality and performance of Canadian hospitals. The website is maintained by the Canadian Institute for Health Information.

The last time the hospital’s standardized mortality ratio was reported in 2012, it stood at 87.5 percent. The latest result is 78 percent, which is significantly better than the Canadian average (85 per cent) and Ontario average (83 per cent).

That means that, compared to two years ago, the hospital is rescuing approximately 400 more patients annually from strokes, heart attacks, traumatic injuries and other critical conditions from which they would otherwise be expected to die.

Hospital Standardized Mortality Ratio (HSMR)
The Ottawa Hospital Ontario Canada
2010 – 2011 112 111 108
2011 – 2012 103 104 103
2012 – 2013 99 100 100
2013 – 2014 88 94 95
2014 – 2015 87 95 96

Hospitals included in the corporation result:

The Ottawa Hospital Civic Campus
The Ottawa Hospital General Campus
The University of Ottawa Heart Institute

The Ottawa Hospital strongly supports the provincial government’s public reporting as we believe it will inspire improved performance, enhance patient safety, and strengthen the public’s confidence in Ontario’s hospitals. The dedicated health professionals at TOH are committed to providing the best possible patient care and we use HSMR as a tool to help make quality improvements based on the results.

What is HSMR?

The hospital standardized mortality ratio (HSMR) is a measure of patient safety that compares a hospital’s mortality rate with a national standard. It is used by many hospitals worldwide to assess and analyze mortality rates and has been proven useful in identifying areas that can be changed to improve patient safety and the quality of care.

HSMR gives hospital administrators and health providers a snapshot of a hospital’s performance at a given time and must be viewed in context with other indicators to help track progress over time.

It is important to note that hospitals – even within a region – often serve different segments of the population with different health needs. That may help explain why our hospital scored differently than other hospitals in our LHIN.

How is HSMR calculated?

HSMR is a ratio of “observed” to “expected” deaths, multiplied by 100. A ratio greater than 100 means more deaths occurred than expected, while a ratio less than 100 suggests fewer deaths occurred than expected.

HSMR = Observed Deaths       x 100
Expected Deaths
  • HSMR is based on diagnosis groups that account for 80% of deaths
  • HSMR is adjusted for factors affecting mortality (e.g. age, sex, length of stay)

To see the full report or for more information, please visit the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) Web site.

Last updated on: February 5th, 2021