Nine out of 10 emergency visits take 7.5 hours or less

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Highlights of 2011–2012 Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Hospitalizations

June 20, 2013—Nine out of 10 hospital emergency department (ED) visits were 7.5 hours or less in 2011–2012. The median (average) time spent—from time of registration to time the patient left the ED—was 2.4 hours, according to the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). This information is based on available data covering more than half of the ED visits in Canada, including all of those in Ontario, Alberta and Yukon.

Complex patients can expect to spend more than twice as long in the ED as minor/uncomplicated patients. Nine out of 10 of the complex patients spent 10.5 hours or less in the ED in 2011–2012. In comparison, 9 out of 10 of the minor/uncomplicated patients spent 4.2 hours or less in the ED.

New information on acute inpatient hospitalizations in Canada is also available. Highlights include the following:

  • Acute inpatient hospitalizations have increased slightly over the past three years—after six years of stability—bringing the total to more than 2.8 million in 2011–2012.
  • There continued to be variation in hospitalization rates among the provinces—Saskatchewan and New Brunswick had the highest rates, while Ontario, British Columbia and Quebec had the lowest.
  • The territories consistently had the highest hospitalization rates and the lowest average length of stay, which may be partly due to the practice of transferring patients with severe conditions outside of the jurisdiction for treatment.

Data tables on ED visits and acute inpatient hospitalizations for 2011–2012 are available at within the Quick Stats feature by selecting “Interactive Data” under “Type” and “Hospital Care” under “Topic,” then selecting the NACRS or DAD/HMDB statistics.

Media contacts:

Angela Baker
Cell: 416-451-5083

Sandra Koppert
Cell: 613-297-7792

Use CIHI's accessibility request form to request CIHI documentation in an accessible format.