St. Mary’s Has Eighth Best Score in National Hospital Safety Measure

December 17th, 2015

St. Mary’s General Hospital scored exceptionally well in the most recent indicators released on December 16 by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). The release by CIHI features results for hospital and other health indicators for the 2014-15 fiscal year on a national, provincial, local and organization-specific level. Click here to see the full report.

The report shows that St. Mary’s had the eighth lowest score for Hospital Standardized Mortality Ratio (HSMR) a measure comparing hospital actual deaths to predicted deaths based on the average experience of a Canadian hospital. Lower is better.

The report also highlights the growth in emergency department visits at SMGH Over the past 3 years St. Mary’s has seen a 15% rise in the number of visits to the ED to 50,059 visits in 2014-15. Despite this, staff and physicians have reduced the time to it takes for the first assessment by a physician by 30% (to 3.6 hours) and the time it takes to get to an inpatient bed by 17% (to 22.3 hours).

Current trends at SMGH are all pointing to even better results in next year’s report due to a number of proactive measures. To read more about some of those measures, and how St. Mary’s performs compared to other hospitals in the community, please see the story below in the December 16 Waterloo Region Record.

Kitchener hospitals ranked among Canada’s safest

By Johanna Weidner

WATERLOO REGION — Kitchener boasts two hospitals ranked in the Top 10 of Canada’s safest hospitals, the only city in the country to make that claim.

Grand River Hospital and St. Mary’s General Hospital both saw improved patient survival rates in the latest report from the Canadian Institute for Health Information on the hospital standardized mortality ratio, which measures actual deaths to predicted deaths based on the average experience of a Canadian hospital. Lower is better.

This is the first time Cambridge Memorial Hospital’s rate was publicly reported after reaching the volume threshold. Their rate was 111, well above the provincial 95.

“It’s high,” said chief of staff Dr. Kunuk Rhee.

While he pointed out the hospital is looking at areas where improvements can be made, he said residents should be confident the care is good.

“Cambridge is still a safe hospital. There’s an absolute commitment to improving quality. These numbers don’t reflect our clinicians’ abilities,” Rhee said.

Grand River ranked fourth nationally.

“We’ve been working for a number of years on an approach to making the hospital safer,” said chief executive officer Malcolm Maxwell. “Over the last few years, we’ve been pretty pleased to see the progress.”

Grand River scored at 72 for the 2014-15 fiscal year, compared to the national average set at 100 in 2012.

“If you go back nine years, we were at the other end of the scale,” Maxwell said. “We’ve improved every year for the last eight years.”

St. Mary’s rate was 82, Guelph General Hospital was 90.

Grand River points to several changes that contributed to its good rating, including improvements to treatment and admission times for serious ill patients in the emergency department, lower rates of hospital-acquired infections and improved communication with patients and families when care moves from one provider to the next.

“It’s the result of many staff making a series of small changes,” Maxwell said. “We’ll also try to be better again next year.”

Maxwell also pointed to the close relationship with St. Mary’s, saying “it’s helping us both.”

St. Mary’s president Don Shilton agreed: “We learn from each other and share our learnings.”

St. Mary’s had the eighth lowest rate in the country, from 11th last year. They had the lowest rate for Canada in 2011.

Shilton said the hospital launched several initiatives that helped boost their safety.

“One of them is the push on seeing patients faster,” he said.

Despite a 15 per cent jump in patients coming to the emergency department over the past few years, they’ve reduced the time to see a doctor or to be admitted if needed.

“That leads to better patient outcomes,” Shilton said.

Opening an area in the department for less acute patients helped to speed care there. There’s also a push to reduce in-patient falls, which leads to complications and longer stays. Last year they achieved a 30 per cent reduction, and they’re on track to meet this year’s goal of 25 per cent.

Other initiatives include a bed realignment to ensure more patients are ending up in the right place, and hospital supervisors in the off-hours to support staff with decisions and to help in a crisis.

Rhee said Cambridge Memorial’s rate “doesn’t necessarily reflect the overall quality of care at the hospital.”

They analyzed the cases included in the report and “there were significant areas for improvement in several areas,” Rhee said.

Documentation is an area they’re looking to bolster. Almost half of the 23 cases were patients with advanced cancer, though the charts didn’t reflect that poor prognosis.

Rhee said the hospital is committed to improving and were already well on their way when the rates were released.

“It’s a call to action. We want to use this for the good it can do,” Rhee said. “I still feel the care we provide is top rate and it’s safe.”