Patients waiting in the emergency department for a hospital bed

Average number of patients in the emergency department waiting for a hospital bed, per hour. (see data dictionary)

What do you see?

  • Are there any trends over time at the hospital where you work or would be most likely to visit?
  • Are there differences in the length of time between hospitals of the same type (e.g., Large Urban)?
  • Do some facilities have consistently shorter or longer times than others?

Alberta Health Services, Analytics. “ED Census Summary.” (2018) [Dashboard showing the average number of patients, per hour, in the emergency department waiting for a hospital bed, by month and facility]. AHS Tableau Reporting Platform. Retrieved from https://tableau.ahs.ca

Understanding “patients waiting in the emergency department for a hospital bed”

Sometimes, patients are admitted to other parts of the hospital for further treatment. However, they may have to wait in the emergency department until the appropriate hospital bed becomes available. This measure looks at, on average, the number of patients per hour who have been admitted to other parts of the hospital but remain waiting in the emergency department. This is important to look at because patients who have been admitted to other parts of the hospital require additional resources.

Different areas of the hospital are dedicated to meeting specific areas of patient need. These needs may not be best met by the care available in the emergency department. Also, these patients are occupying treatment space in the emergency department that would otherwise be available to newly arriving emergency department patients, meaning these new patients may need to wait longer to see an emergency doctor.

To understand how long these patients are waiting in the emergency department for a hospital bed, see length of time emergency department patients wait for a hospital bed after a decision to admit.
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Results from May and June 2016 are not reported for the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre due to the forest fire that affected Fort McMurray and forced the closure of the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta uses the Alberta Quality Matrix for Health as a way of organizing information and thinking around the complexity of the healthcare system. This measure can be used as input to assess the emergency department’s performance in these dimensions of quality:

LEARN MORE

Dimensions of Quality

  • Acceptability 
  • Accessibility 
  • Appropriateness 
  • Effectiveness 
  • Efficiency 
  • Safety