News / Calgary

Calgary emergency wait-time tracker leveling patient load: Alberta Health Services

Health officials estimate up to 40 per cent of Calgary emergency room patients are heading online first to check a wait-time tracking service they say are becoming increasingly accurate.

Last summer, Alberta Health Services launched the service, which tracks emergency waits for Calgary’s four hospitals and two urgent-care centres. It was the first of its kind in Canada

David Brewin, executive director of the AHS provincial access team, said the application is helping a move towards more consistent wait-time averages across all hospitals.

“People are making informed decisions,” he said.

“In a way in the past, it was bit shied away from, giving the public information, we have dispelled some of those worries.”

AHS now has eyes on a summer launch of a similar application for Edmonton. A hospital in Kitchener, Ontario, also recently launched the same service and other municipalities have taken an interest as well, Brewin said.

Rick Lundy, chair of the Open Arms Patient Advocacy Society, said he believes the online tool marks a turning point in patient care.

“You used to just go and sit in a waiting room, sometimes not knowing it was 160 per cent capacity,” he said.

Brewin said fine-tuning of the tracking process and technology has led them to determine the wait-time tracking system is now accurate to within an hour 90 per cent of the time.

The wait-time tracker can be viewed at albertahealthservices.ca.

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