ER wait times posted online
A Calgary health-care analyst says publishing emergency room wait time updates is a step in the right direction.
Alberta Health Services has started posting a weekly summary of individual hospital wait times online.
Dr. Tom Noseworthy, a health policy analyst at the University of Calgary, said this could start to restore public confidence in the system.
"We haven't been reporting these things as explicitly, previously. This now might not give the information that makes people particularly pleased with what they're seeing, but nonetheless it puts a bright light on [wait times]," said Noseworthy.
"Now the challenge, of course, is for AHS to make this better."
Statistics show that fewer than 35 per cent of patients attending each of Calgary's three adult ERs are admitted within eight hours of arrival.
AHS has set a target of 45 per cent of patients being admitted within eight hours of arrival by next spring.
But for the week starting Oct. 31, only 24 per cent of patients at Rockyview General Hospital were admitted within the eight-hour period. The figure was 30 per cent at Peter Lougheed Centre (PLC) and 34 per cent at Foothills hospital.
The only Calgary hospital to meet the eight-hour target was Alberta Children's Hospital, where 55 per cent of patients were seen within eight hours.
The ultimate goal for AHS is to have 90 per cent of ER-admitted patients seen within eight hours by 2015.
Dr. Arun Abbi, an emergency room doctor at Foothills at PLC, said other provinces have set their sights on the 90 per cent mark and there are a number of things Alberta could do to achieve that.
"We're going to see patients in the waiting room and that has helped the people at least being discharged within four hours. We've reduced the time it takes to see a doctor by about an hour over the last year, so that helps in that regard," Abbi said.
"I think increasing hospital capacity is the key thing."