New data on cardiovascular care shows high quality but variable patient outcomes through public reporting; demonstrates need for federal health leadership



OTTAWA, June 1, 2018 – Although unsuccessful in obtaining federal funding in the 2018 Federal Budget, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society (CCS) is continuing to actively support reporting of cardiovascular outcomes, and has jointly released updated pan-Canadian results with the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). The results demonstrate the critical need for national leaders to recognize the value of evidence-based improvements in patient care.

The Cardiac Care Quality Indicators (CCQI), which are published on CIHI’s website, provide doctors and health decision makers with meaningful and comparable pan-Canadian data on cardiac patient outcomes (i.e. mortality and readmission rates) to help improve the quality of in-hospital care. An important complement to the updated indicator results are  the  clinical commentaries on the Cardiac Surgery and PCI outcomes provided by the CCS Quality Project’s expert working groups. The working groups emphasize the need for more comprehensive data beyond the current reports, to allow an in-depth examination of clinical practice in high-performing programs that will guide initiatives for continuing quality improvement.

Federal leadership needed to tackle regional health disparities

Pan-Canadian standards and comparable approaches for collecting cardiac care data exist in Canada. However, more data could enhance the reporting of outcome measures for health interventions or therapies. Health professionals and policy makers currently have limited information upon which to base improvement initiatives concerning the quality of care being delivered to patients. This lack of information often translates to regional variations in the quality of care delivered, and significant disparities in patient outcomes across cities and provinces.

Leading up to Budget 2018, the CCS made a recommendation for federal-level leadership and funding to enable the development  of a pan-Canadian learning health system for cardiovascular care, with the goal of patient care continuously being informed by meaningful real-world data, as well as published evidence and research.

Despite strong support from the health community and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance, the Health Minister chose not to prioritize the quality of care of heart patients in February’s budget.

Despite this setback, the CCS is continuing to make strides in improving the quality of cardiovascular care.

Pan-Canadian data leads to evidence-based care

Though the release of the latest CCQI data represents only the second time that information on patient outcomes related to select cardiac interventions has been made publicly available at the pan-Canadian, provincial, and cardiac centre levels, trends from this year’s data are already demonstrating widespread engagement in examination of current practices and processes to improve outcomes.

“Already, the pan-Canadian data that has been made available through the report has had an impact on clinical practice in centres across the country – including my own,” said Dr. James Abel, head of Cardiac Surgery at St. Paul’s Hospital (Vancouver, BC) and co-chair of the cardiac surgery working group of the CCS that partnered with CIHI to produce the report over the last two years.

“Before the 2017 CCQI report came out, my centre had no idea how it compared to other hospitals across the country. The information in the report has been critical in determining each cardiac care centre’s strengths as well as their opportunities for improvement. It has stimulated a national conversation among the centres and facilitated broader collaboration as centres look to optimize the quality of care offered with support from the cardiac care community across Canada.”

Trends from the 2018 CCQI data show high but variable quality of care across the country, including:

  • a national low 30-day in-hospital mortality after coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) and aortic valve replacement (AVR);
  • a national low, but variable rate in 30-day all-cause readmission rate following percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI).

With proven results that pan-Canadian reporting of patient outcomes can improve the quality of care, it is critical for the federal government to recognize its important leadership role in ensuring that health system improvements are being made in an evidence-based way.

About the Canadian Cardiovascular Society

The Canadian Cardiovascular Society is a non-profit organization that represents more than 2,200 cardiovascular clinicians and scientists across Canada. Established in 1947, the Canadian Cardiovascular Society works to promote cardiovascular health and care excellence through knowledge translation, professional development and health policy.

The CCS has been working extensively with CIHI to ensure that the data being reported is of relevance to the Canadian cardiac care community.

Facts about heart disease in Canada

  • Each year, 33,600 Canadians die as a result of heart disease. It is a leading cause of death in Canada, along with cancer.
  • Twenty percent of Canadians aged 65+ live with heart disease. Nine in 10 Canadians aged 20+ have at least one risk factor for heart disease.
  • The economic burden of heart disease is estimated at $20.9 billion, and is expected to reach $28.3 billion by 2020.
  • Premature death due to heart disease contributes $9.3 billion in lost productivity every year.
  • Heart disease disproportionately affects Canada’s Indigenous and rural populations.


For more information:

Julie Graves
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Canadian Cardiovascular Society
613-569-3407 x 416