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Name
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Avoidable Deaths
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Short/Other Names
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Potentially Avoidable Mortality

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Description
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Avoidable mortality refers to untimely deaths that should not occur in the presence of timely and effective health care, including prevention. It serves to focus attention on the portion of population health attainment that can potentially be influenced by the health system.

Potentially avoidable mortality includes premature deaths that could potentially have been avoided through all levels of prevention (primary, secondary, tertiary).

For further details, please see the General Methodology Notes.

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Interpretation
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Lower rates are desirable.

The potentially avoidable mortality indicator includes premature deaths that could be avoidable through all levels of prevention.

Mortality from preventable causes focuses on premature deaths from conditions that could potentially be avoided through primary prevention efforts, such as lifestyle modifications or population-level interventions (for example, vaccinations and injury prevention). The indicator informs efforts aimed at reducing the number of initial cases, or incidence reduction, as deaths are prevented by avoiding new cases altogether.

Mortality from treatable causes focuses on premature deaths that could potentially be avoided through secondary and tertiary prevention efforts, such as screening for and effective treatment of an existing disease. The indicator informs efforts aimed at reducing the number of people who die once they have the condition, or case-fatality reduction.

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HSP Framework Dimension
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Health System Outcomes: Improve health status of Canadians

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Areas of Need
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Not applicable

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Geographic Coverage
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All provinces/territories

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National, Province/Territory, Region

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Indicator Results
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Accessing Indicator Results on Your Health System: In Depth

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Rationale
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Avoidable mortality indicators provide additional insight into the Canadian health system. These measures can be used to assess the impact of prevention strategies and the outcomes of health policy decisions and health care provision.

Avoidable mortality indicators can serve to inform where Canada's health system has made gains and to point to where more work is needed. They can also help to quantify potential gains. For example, in an ideal world where all avoidable mortality in Canada has been eliminated, life expectancy at birth for the years 2006 to 2008 would have been 85.8 years—4.9 years longer than the actual life expectancy of 80.9 years. Three of the 4.9 years would be attributed to eliminating preventable mortality; the other 1.9 years would come from eliminating mortality from treatable causes.

Analysis of avoidable mortality highlights the need for prevention.

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Interpretation
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Lower rates are desirable.

The potentially avoidable mortality indicator includes premature deaths that could be avoidable through all levels of prevention.

Mortality from preventable causes focuses on premature deaths from conditions that could potentially be avoided through primary prevention efforts, such as lifestyle modifications or population-level interventions (for example, vaccinations and injury prevention). The indicator informs efforts aimed at reducing the number of initial cases, or incidence reduction, as deaths are prevented by avoiding new cases altogether.

Mortality from treatable causes focuses on premature deaths that could potentially be avoided through secondary and tertiary prevention efforts, such as screening for and effective treatment of an existing disease. The indicator informs efforts aimed at reducing the number of people who die once they have the condition, or case-fatality reduction.

Avoidable mortality indicators can serve to inform where Canada's health system has made gains and to point to where more work is needed. They can also help to quantify potential gains. For example, in an ideal world where all avoidable mortality in Canada has been eliminated, life expectancy at birth for the years 2006 to 2008 would have been 85.8 years—4.9 years longer than the actual life expectancy of 80.9 years. Three of the 4.9 years would be attributed to eliminating preventable mortality; the other 1.9 years would come from eliminating mortality from treatable causes.

Analysis of avoidable mortality highlights the need for prevention.

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Interpretation
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Lower rates are desirable.

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HSP Framework Dimension
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Health System Outcomes: Improve health status of Canadians

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Areas of Need
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Not applicable

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Targets/Benchmarks
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Not applicable

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References
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Australian Government. National Healthcare Agreement: PI 20-Potentially Avoidable Deaths, 2010. http://meteor.aihw.gov.au/content/index.phtml/itemId/394495. Published June 8, 2011. Accessed on October 19, 2011.

Ministry of Health. Saving Lives: Amenable Mortality in New Zealand, 1996-2006. Wellington, New Zealand: Ministry of Health; 2010.

Nolte E, McKee CM. Does Health Care Save Lives? Avoidable Mortality Revisited. London, UK: The Nuffield Trust; 2004.

Office for National Statistics (United Kingdom). Definitions of Avoidable Mortality. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778_264958.pdf. Published May 15, 2012. Accessed on October 19, 2012.

Page A, Tobias M, Wright C, et al. Australian and New Zealand Atlas of Avoidable Mortality. Adelaide, Australia: PHIDU, University of Adelaide; 2006.

Rutstein DD, Berenberg W, Chalmers TC, et al. Measuring the Quality of Medical Care: A Clinical Method. N Engl J Med 1976( 294): 582-588

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Data Sources
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Demography division, Statistics Canada, Vital Statistics - Death Database, Statistics Canada

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Available Data Years
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Type of Year:
Calendar
First Available Year:
2007
Last Available Year:
2012 2014

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Geographic Coverage
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All provinces/territories

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Reporting Level/Disaggregation
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National, Province/Territory, Region

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