Healthcare Quarterly

Healthcare Quarterly 1(1) September 1997 : 64-64.doi:10.12927/hcq..17428
Quarterly Index

Hospital Care Still Largest Piece of Health Expenditures Pie


[No abstract available for this article.]

Hospital Care still Largest Piece of Health Expenditures Pie1

Each year from 1975 to 1991, Canada's health spending grew by an average of 11.2%. By comparison, in the period from 1991-1995, the average annual growth fell to 2.9% per year and is projected to be 1.4% per year in the period 1996 to 1997. According to CIHI's soon-to-be-released National Health Expenditure Trends report, total health expenditures in Canada were $74.5 billion in 1995 - equivalent to approximately $2,515 per person. Expenditures are projected to reach $75.5 billion in 1996 and $76.6 billion in 1997.

Hospital care continues to be the largest item of health expenditure, accounting for over 35% of total health expenditures ($26.5 billion in 1995.) The share of total spending that went to hospital care, however, has dropped from a high of 45.4% in 1976. Total spending on hospital care decreased for the first time in 1994 (by 0.81% over the previous year). It is expected that this trend will continue into 1997 where total hospital expenditures are forecast at $25.8 billion (33.6% of total projected health spending).

Hospital Utilization Indices2

Over 2,500,000 acute care inpatients were discharged from Canadian hospitals in the 1996/97 fiscal year. This represents a decrease of about 10% over the last five years. The largest annual decrease (4%) was reported between 1995/96 and 1996/97.

Increasingly, patients in Canadian hospitals are being treated in day surgery settings. In 1996/97, acute care inpatients represented approximately 60% of all discharges

The average length of stay for acute care inpatients in 1996/97 was 6.2 days. Six years ago, the average length of stay in every province was higher than today's national average.

Special Focus: Injury-Related Indices3

There were more than 103,000 documented injuries in Ontario last year. These injuries led to over 69,000 hospital admissions.

Injury-related admissions typically last about three days longer than the average inpatient admission.

Over the last five years, the injury admission rate per 10,000 population has been steadily decreasing (from 71.9 in 1992 to 61.4 last year). In the same period, injury-related deaths after admission to hospital and the mean number of documented injuries have increased slightly.


Information for the Quarterly Index provided by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). For information about CIHI or to access the Institute's publications please consult its website at For more information regarding these statistics please contact Jennifer Zelmer at (416) 429-0464 ext. 3521 or via email at


1 Notes: "Other Health Spending" includes prepayment administration (17.5% in 1994), public health (37.9%), health research (8.3%), and the balance of other health spending (36.3%). "Other Professionals" includes dentists (63.5% in 1994), vision care (20.8%), and other health personnel (15.7%). Constant dollar health expenditures are in constant 1986 dollars.

2 Sources: Hospital utilization data are from CIHI's Discharge Abstract Database (note: partial reporting for 96/97 from Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Prince Edward Island; does not include discharges from Quebec); population figures are drawn from Statistics Canada's CANSIM matrices 6367-6379.

3 Source: The Ontario Trauma Registry (the model for a proposed national registry) based on hospital admissions in the CIHI Discharge Abstract Database in July 1997. Note: Suicide admissions resulting from poisoning are not included.


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