Dear Colleagues,

Today the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) announced the 2007/08 national data on Hospital Standardized Mortality Ratio (HSMR). As you may recall from last year, HSMR compares the mortality rates (risk of in-hospital death) for each acute care hospital in Canada with an overall average rate.

HSMR data is another measurement tool designed to help us improve patient safety over time. An HSMR score equal to 100 suggests that there is no difference between the hospital’s mortality rate and the overall average rate; a rate above 100 means the hospital's mortality rate is higher than average and a rate below 100 means the rate is lower.

​For 2007/08, UHN’s HSMR rate is 88, which means that for the second year in a row, mortality at UHN is much lower ​​than the Canadian average. Compared with other Toronto hospitals, we are also well below the average of 97.

​​Catherine Zahn and I are pleased with these numbers, but we know that we can't be complacent about patient safety. Last month, we heard the Accreditation Surveyors recognize UHN for our strong patient safety culture. There are many safety initiatives active in the hospital including attention to infection control; improved communication between staff using the electronic sign-out tool; and the development of a multi-disciplinary Electronic Medication Information Transfer Tool to support medication reconciliation. We are committed to supporting our staff towards a goal of making UHN Hospitals the safest hospitals in Canada.  

I encourage everyone to read the CIHI report at​ and to visit our Patient Safety intranet to learn more about our initiatives at

We​ still have a considerable distance to go - but UHN is well on its way to being Canada’s safest hospital. Thank you for your all for your commitment to this cause.

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