A new measure of safety and quality in New Zealand’s hospitals was released on 24 September.
The Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratio (HSMR) has been developed by the Ministry of Health and is being published by the Health Quality & Safety Commission as part of a growing range of quality measures.
Ministry Chief Medical Officer, Dr Don Mackie, says the measure compares the observed number of deaths in a hospital with a predicted number.
“Many countries are using a similar measure and its publication here is part of a steady improvement in transparency about our health sector.”
Commission Director Health Quality Evaluation, Richard Hamblin, says the Commission already publishes a number of health care quality indicators and the HSMR will be another measurement tool. He says it’s very important the HSMR is used correctly.
“The HSMR cannot be used to compare or rank DHBs, or to make simplistic comparisons about quality of care, as all DHBs are different in the populations they serve and how they structure their services.
“It is most useful as a prompt for a DHB that it may need to investigate further, based on changes over time in the measure.”
Dr Mackie says New Zealanders can take confidence from the clear and steady decline in the HSMR since 2007.
“As with comparable countries, that shows the benefit of improvements in health care.”