Emergency department visits for minor conditions – by time of day

Influence of time of day on emergency department visits for minor conditions. (see data definition)

What do you see?

  • Are there differences in ED visit rates for minor conditions in the urban zones (Calgary and Edmonton) compared to the more rural zones (North, Central, South)? What might account for these differences?
  • What differences exist between the three categories of time of day and ED visit rates for minor conditions?

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 and Alberta Health

Understanding emergency department visits for minor conditions – by time of day

Visits to an emergency department may vary by time of day, day of week, as well as how accessible a family doctor’s office might be at the time of need. For example, if a patient needs care after a family doctor’s office or clinic has closed, the only option may be to go to an emergency department. Or if the family doctor’s office is open, but no appointments are available, patients may choose to go to an emergency department.

Looking at the number of emergency department visits by time of day may assist in service planning for family doctors, clinics, and Primary Care Networks.

Considerations when reviewing the results

  • Does not include visits to urgent care centres.
  • This measure includes all varying continuity levels.

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. The information in this chart can be used as input to think and have conversations about primary healthcare in Alberta using the lens of the dimensions of quality shown on the right:


Dimensions of Quality

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