Category: Outcomes that matter

Discussing Outcomes that Matter: Mortality Rate

Outcome measures are measures put in place to better control the quality of outcomes in different departments and areas of a healthcare organization. Outcome measure can range from the most basic measures to the more advanced issues like measuring mortality. Healthcare organizations seek to improve Outcomes that Matter the most while also delving resources to focus on other outcome measures. The CDC has ranked outcome measure in the order of importance and this gives healthcare organizations and hospitals a baseline on how best to allocate their outcome measure improvement resources and manpower. Another way a healthcare organization tackles the issue of outcome measures is through Patient-reported outcomes. Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) aren’t new to the healthcare industry. What is new is the pioneering work the International Consortium for Health Outcomes Measurement (ICHOM) is doing to help healthcare organizations worldwide understand and use PROs and PROMs to improve patient outcomes.

CDC ranked outcome measures

The CDC has ranked outcome measures and given them percentage values. See below In the following paragraphs, we are going to discuss one of the highest ranked outcome measures.

  • Mortality (22 percent)
  • Safety of care (22 percent)
  • Readmissions (22 percent)
  • Patient experience (22 percent)
  • The effectiveness of care (4 percent)
  • Timeliness of care (4 percent)
  • Efficient use of medical imaging (4 percent)


Mortality rate is an outcome measure that matters

Mortality rate is a term that’s commonly used in everyday discuss. Mortality rate literally means death rate. It can be defined as the measure of the number of deaths within a particular population, scaled to the size of that population, per unit of time within a specified period of time. Mortality rate can be calculated in general and calculated due to a specific cause of death. When calculated, it is expressed in units of deaths per one thousand  (1,000) individuals. For example, a mortality rate of 9.5 (out of 1,000) in a population of 1,000 would mean 9.5 deaths per year in that entire population or 0.95% out of the total. Mortality rate should not be mistaken for morbidity. Though the words are related and morbidity is used in conversations (the word morbid) to mean death or relating to death, the technical definition of Morbidity is the prevalence or incidence of a disease and also the number of newly appearing cases of disease per unit of time.

There are different types of mortality rate and they are:

The fetal mortality rate: This is the ratio of fetal deaths to the sum of the births in a particular year. That is the ratio of live births to fetal deaths in that specific time period.

The infant mortality rate: This is the number of children dying under a year of age divided by the number of live births that year.

The maternal mortality rate: The number of maternal deaths related to childbearing divided by the number of live births or by the number of live births + fetal deaths in that year.


Ideally, when measuring mortality rate, vital statistics and census data are used. Census data will give detailed information about the population at risk of death. The vital statistics provide information about live births and deaths in the population. Often, either census data and vital statistics data might not be available. This is especially true in developing countries, countries that are in conflict, areas where natural disasters have caused mass displacement, and other areas where there is a humanitarian crisis.

Countries with the Highest Mortality Rate

The countries with the highest mortality rate (from available data) are listed in the table below.

Rank Country Death rate

(annual deaths/1,000 persons)

1 Lesotho 14.9
2 Bulgaria 14.5
3 Lithuania 14.5
4 Ukraine 14.4
5 Latvia 14.4
6 Guinea-Bissau 14.1
7 Chad 14.0
8 Afghanistan 13.7
9 Serbia 13.6
10 Russia 13.6

Source: Wikipedia


Top causes of death (mortality)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the ten leading causes of death as at 2015 are

  • Ischaemic heart disease (119 per 100,000 population)
  • Stroke (85 per 100,000 population)
  • Lower respiratory infections (43 per 100,000 population)
  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (43 per 100,000 population)
  • Trachea/bronchus/lung cancers (23 per 100,000 population)
  • Diabetes mellitus (22 per 100,000 population)
  • Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias (21 per 100,000 population)
  • Diarrhoeal diseases (19 per 100,000 population)
  • Tuberculosis (19 per 100,000 population)
  • Road traffic accidents (10 per 100,000 population)
  • Causes of death vary greatly between developed and less developed countries.

Source: Wikipedia