The number of people dying within 30 days of being admitted to hospital has fallen.
Figures from the Scottish government showed there were 7,800 fewer than expected deaths between the first three months of 2014 and the third quarter of 2017.
The figures are compiled to reveal the Hospital Standardised Mortality Ratios.
People who had unplanned admissions to hospital or who underwent emergency procedures were the most likely to die.
In total, there were 6,084 deaths within 30 days of hospital admission during the 2017 period – 14% fewer than predicted.
Overall, one hospital – Belford Hospital in Fort William – had an HSMR that was significantly higher than the national average.
The Western General Hospital, Crosshouse Hospital near Kilmarnock, and Wishaw General Hospital in North Lanarkshire all recorded Hospital Standardised Mortality Rates (HSMR) that were significantly lower than the Scottish average.
The drop in the figures since 2014 represents a 10.6% decrease overall and means a Scottish government target to cut the mortality rate by 10% between 2014 and 2018 has already been met.
Health Secretary Shona Robison credited the reduction in deaths to the Scottish Patient Safety Programme, a drive to improve the safety and reliability of hospital care.
The revised target was set and methodology changed after a previous target of a 20% reduction by December 2015 was missed by 3.5%.
A total of 21 out of 29 hospitals in the Scottish Patient Safety Programme have gone on to cut their mortality rate.
From these, 13 have cut the rate by more than 10%.
Admitted for treatment
Ms Robison said: “Thanks to a decade of hard work by the Scottish Patient Safety Programme, we’ve met this key aim over a year earlier than planned.
“But most importantly, it means more lives have been saved that may otherwise have been lost.
“This comes at a time when our NHS is treating more people, with more complex needs.”
The HSMR takes account of those patients who die within 30 days of being admitted to hospital, including those who die in the community.
However, the rate does not include patients who die in hospital more than 30 days after they were admitted for treatment.