St. Mary’s Continues as a Top Hospital in Canada for Patient Safety

November 30th, 2017

November 30, 2017 (Kitchener) – St. Mary’s General Hospital continues to be recognized as one of the safest acute care hospitals in Canada, achieving the third best score for Hospital Standardized Mortality Ratio (HSMR), a key indicator of hospital safety.

This achievement was recognized with today’s release by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) of performance indicators for 2016-17, including HSMR, Emergency Department (ED) waits, and readmission rates. HSMR measures expected deaths versus actual deaths in acute care hospitals, with a ratio lower than 100 indicating fewer than expected deaths. St. Mary’s score was 71, compared to a national average of 91.

Read more about St. Mary’s results on CIHI’s Your Health System website.

“This excellent result confirms the commitment by staff and physicians to St. Mary’s vision to be the safest and most effective hospital in Canada. In the past six years, St. Mary’s has twice achieved the top score in this report and we continue to be among the very best,” said St. Mary’s President Don Shilton. “We also congratulate our colleagues at Grand River Hospital on their ongoing strong showings in HSMR scores.”

The report comes on the heels of an October report by CIHI on Canada’s 38 cardiac centres. It indicated St. Mary’s was one of only three centres in the country performing better than the national average in all quality indicators covered by the report.

In today’s CIHI report, St. Mary’s continued to achieve low readmission rates for all patients. St. Mary’s has placed in the top 10% of hospitals in Canada for this indicator for the last five consecutive years.

Indicator SMGH WWLHIN Ontario Canada
HSMR 71 79 90 91
All patients readmitted to hospital 8.2% 8.9% 9.2% 9.1%
90th percentile ED wait time for Physician Initial Assessment (hours) 3.8 3.4 3.0 3.1
90th percentile total time spent in the ED for Admitted Patients (hours) 23.8 19.0 31.3 32.6

The report also shows that ED wait times at St. Mary’s have been going down despite a significant increase in the number of patients seeking care and the number who need to be admitted through the ED. Waits for a first assessment by a physician or Nurse Practitioner have been reduced by 30% in the past five years from 5.4 hours to 3.8 hours. This is despite a 24% increase in the number of visits to the ED during the same period, from 46,110 to 57,093.

As well, the number of patients requiring admission has jumped 36% in five years. However, during that period, St. Mary’s reduced the total time admitted patients wait in the ED by 12% from 26.9 hours to 23.8 hours. “We have developed a culture of problem solvers at St. Mary’s who continue to drive down emergency department waits by using Lean thinking,” said Mr. Shilton. “Our staff and physicians have found ways to reduce the time that patients stay in inpatient beds by 13% in the past two years, which has helped offset the increases in demands for emergency care and inpatient admissions.”

Among those initiatives is an enhanced recovery model for lung cancer patients, expansion of St. Mary’s Integrated Comprehensive Care program to assist patients to transition to home, and daily bedside rounding on inpatient units, which improves communication and discharge planning for admitted patients and their families.

“Despite the rising demand for our services we’re very pleased to have achieved top scores for patient safety and readmission rates, as well as sustained improvements in our ED wait times,” says Mr. Shilton. “Our staff and physicians are committed to providing the safest and most effective care in the country and are constantly finding new and better ways to achieve that goal.”




Anne Kelly,
Manager, Communications
519-749-6578, ext. 1501
226-339-1903 (mobile)