Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada - HIROC

Canada’s top provider of healthcare insurance capitalises on Datix functionality


Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC) is Canada’s leading provider of healthcare liability insurance.

HIROC is an insurance reciprocal, an arrangement whereby members/owners, called subscribers, are committed to working together to manage risk and share profits and losses. Since its inception 26 years ago, HIROC has returned over $91million to its subscribers.

Founded in 1987 with a small number of healthcare organizations in Ontario, HIROC has expanded to over 550 subscriber organizations across Canada. Subscribers represent the breadth of Canadian healthcare and include regional health authorities, hospitals, long-term care facilities, community health centres, homecare organizations, associations and regulatory bodies.

HIROC works in partnership with subscribers to create meaningful and productive change resulting in increased safety, a reduction in claims and incidents, and improved system efficiency. It does this by providing stable and cost-effective medical malpractice liability insurance, claims management expertise and innovative risk management services.

"Datix has emerged as a valuable and strategic tool that allows us to leverage our unique claims database to assist subscribers in identifying and reducing the gaps and make a real difference to improving patient safety." Sara Chow, Healthcare Risk Management Specialist at HIROC

Claims review prompts risk management strategy revamp

Driven by its vision of Partnering to create the safest healthcare system, HIROC recently implemented Datix patient safety and risk management software to deliver an enhanced self assessment tool to help subscribers better manage their risks.

The process began in 2011 with the acute care sector and a deep analysis of claims data. The company then identified the top 30 risks, which comprised 85% of total medical-legal and property claims costs for this sector. Concise Risk Reference Sheets which describe each one of these 30 risks were developed, and include a set of key risk mitigation strategies to address each risk. The final part of the process involved pulling out the ‘top ten’ most impactful mitigation strategies per risk and loading them into modules in an online self assessment program called the Risk Assessment Checklists. Subscribers then report on their level of compliance with each mitigation strategy. Scores are summarized for each risk and reported out in a risk register which can be used to highlight potential areas of focus and to track changes over time.

Sara Chow, Healthcare Risk Management Specialist at HIROC explained, “With a steady increase in subscriber numbers, our previous system was beginning to show its age. Navigation was clunky and it looked old-fashioned and tired. The time had come to introduce an innovative technology solution.”

Global reputation, local experience

After reviewing other vendors and based on references from other Datix customers including large Canadian health authorities, HIROC selected Datix as a system for the Risk Assessment Checklists.

Sara Chow continued, “From the outset, it was clear that Datix best matched our requirement for a system that was simple to use and offered high levels of security. Even during the tender process, the team at Datix was extremely helpful and willing to go the extra mile.”

Part of the appeal of Datix for HIROC was its reputation in the global marketplace and prior experience working with some of the largest healthcare organizations in Canada, including the province of British Columbia.

New Accreditation Module leads the way

In 2012, HIROC deployed the Datix Accreditation module, rolling it out to its acute care subscribers across Canada. Developed in close partnership with HIROC, the new Datix module is designed to assess compliance with key risk mitigation strategies and has the flexibility necessary to handle multiple types of organizations.

Sara and her team were particularly impressed by the professionalism, tenacity and attention to detail that Datix demonstrated while developing the new technology.

The implementation of Datix went smoothly. It was successfully carried out on time and on budget. The new program and technology has allowed subscribers and HIROC to benefit from efficiencies and significant achievements. For example, by focusing on the top risks and top mitigation strategies, the number of questions used for self-assessment has been dramatically reduced from 2,000 in the old system to around 300 in the new system.

The Datix system helps HIROC identify areas of low compliance which in turn helps to prioritise future development and education needs.

HIROC is most encouraged by the positive feedback from users who report that, “the new program is refreshing, much more streamlined”, “much more focused and much less onerous,” and “the software is easy to use”. Other users have cited the helpfulness of the self-assessment program, which they say has been critical to identifying areas for improvement and has resulted in productive discussions between clinical team members around new ways of working.

From a management point of view, the new Datix software is far more manageable and has reduced the amount of time subscribers spend on completing the self-assessment process. For example, drop-down menus have removed the need for much of the free text, saving valuable time that can now be dedicated to other priorities.


HIROC operates as an insurance reciprocal where members are in the same business and agree to share losses. Since its inception 27 years ago, HIROC has distributed over $129 million.

Founded in 1987 with 53 Ontario hospitals, HIROC was established to provide a stable, financially sound and practical alternative for meeting the hospitals’ liability insurance needs. The reciprocal has grown to 600 subscribers across a range of healthcare facilities and organizations in Canada.

HIROC remains firmly committed to its goal of working with our subscribers and partners to  develop tools and solutions that minimize risk and improve the efficiency and safety of Canada’s healthcare system.

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