Mortality ratios up in Newfoundland health regions

Deana Stokes Sullivan
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Three health regions in this province have mortality ratios higher than the national experience, according to statistics released by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI).

But, the ratio for St. John's acute care hospitals is below the national norm.

The hospital standardized mortality ratio (HSMR) is the ratio of actual or observed deaths to expected deaths and focuses on diagnosis groups that account for the majority of in-hospital deaths.

The data is used to track a hospital's mortality over time and allows hospitals to measure and monitor their progress in quality of care.

A ratio of 100 suggests no difference between a local mortality rate and the average national experience, given the types of patients cared for, while a ratio greater or less than 100 suggests a local mortality rate is higher or lower than the national experience. The baseline for the latest results was calculated using data from 2004-05.

Here's how the Newfoundland health regions rank for 2010-11:

• Central region, has the highest ratio — 120, up from 114 last year;

• Western region — 111, up from 90 last year;

• Eastern region — 106, up from 103 last year;

• St. John's acute care — 98, same as last year;

• The CIHI says the Labrador-Grenfell Regional Integrated Health Authority doesn't meet the reporting threshold.

The CIHI said its data shows that in 2010-11, HSMRs decreased significantly for more than 10 per cent of acute care hospitals in the country over the previous year and, since 2004-05, there has been a significant decrease for more than half of Canadian facilities.

Results have remained the same for about 44 per cent of hospitals and significantly increased for three per cent of facilities.

The CIHI says the HSMR is not designed for comparisons between hospitals, but it can be used to track overall changes in mortality resulting from a broad range of factors, including changes in the quality and safety of care delivered.

The 2011 HSMR public release is the fifth release of its kind by the CIHI. Another report is expected to be released in early 2012, In early 2012, with an updated baseline, using 2009-10 data.

The latest data for all provinces is available on


Organizations: The CIHI, Canadian Institute for Health Information, Labrador-Grenfell Regional Integrated Health Authority

Geographic location: Newfoundland, St. John's, Western Eastern

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