Time waiting for specialist/admitting doctor opinion

Time from when a specialist/admitting doctor is called to when a decision is made to either admit the patient to the hospital or send them home. (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?
  • Could the number of patients who visited each emergency department be a reason for the differences that you see between sites?

Whether you’re a patient, provider, or health system administrator, thinking about why these differences might exist can start conversations and lead to solutions for improved quality of healthcare.

*Data courtesy of Alberta Health Services

Understanding “time waiting for specialist/admitting doctor opinion”

Some patients in the emergency department require input/opinion from a specialist doctor. For example, a patient experiencing chest pain may need to be seen by a heart specialist. In addition, since emergency doctors do not formally admit patients to the hospital, they contact an admitting doctor or specialist to admit patients who need to receive hospital care.

The time it takes for a specialist/admitting doctor to come and see a patient, and make a decision about their care, may affect the patients’ total length of stay in the emergency department. As well, it may affect new emergency department patients’ time to see an emergency doctor.

Currently, in the HQCA’s “medium urban” peer grouping, Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert is the only hospital that has consistent data available for this report.


Results for November 2019 to March 2020 are not available for the University of Alberta Hospital and the Stollery Children’s Hospital.

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:


Dimensions of Quality

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