Ontario to report patient safety
TORONTO – The Ontario government is
introducing full public reporting on eight patient safety indicators –
including Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) – as part of a
comprehensive plan to create an unprecedented level of transparency in
On September 30, 2008, all Ontario hospitals will be required to
publicly report on C. difficile rates in their facilities through a
As part of this comprehensive initiative, Dr. Michael Baker,
physician-in-chief at the University Health Network, is being appointed
Executive Lead – Patient Safety, to oversee the government’s patient
safety agenda. He will build upon initiatives already taken, such as the
hospital hand hygiene program.
The list of patient safety indicators is:
• Clostridium difficile (C. difficile), Sept. 30, 2008 (Start Date of
• Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), Dec. 31, 2008
• Vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE), Dec. 31, 2008
• Hospital Standardized Mortality Ratio (HSMR) – mortality rates,
• Rates of ventilator-associated pneumonia, April 30, 2009
• Rates of central line infections, April 30, 2009
• Rates of Surgical site infections, April 30, 2009
• Hand hygiene compliance among health care workers, April 30, 2009
Hospitals will also be required to immediately report C. difficile
outbreaks to their local public health units, so that Medical Officers
of Health have the information they need to monitor and respond to
“The new reporting framework reflects our commitment to uphold the
highest standards of care for Ontario’s patients,” said George
Smitherman, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.
“Transparency may not always provide us with the news we want to hear,
but it leads to the actions we all need to take to combat the risks of
“This is very important – we need to let the public know how our
hospitals are performing,” said Dr. Michael Baker. “We can then measure
our progress in improving safety standards. This announcement on
reporting places us among the leaders of patient safety in hospitals
across the country.”
“Ontario’s hospitals are committed to providing the safest possible care
to patients,” said Tom Closson, President and CEO of the Ontario
Hospital Association. “We strongly support the public reporting of
patient safety indicators because we believe it will inspire improved
performance, enhance patient safety, and strengthen the public’s
confidence in Ontario’s hospitals.”
• C. difficile is a bacterium that causes diarrhea and more serious
• C. difficile is the most common cause of infectious diarrhea in
hospitalized patients in the industrialized world.
• The use of antibiotics increases the chances of developing C.
difficile diarrhea as it alters the normal level of good bacteria found
in the intestines and colon.
• Good hand hygiene is the single-most effective way to prevent the
spread of infectious diseases like C. difficile.