Alberta Surgical Initiative

Alberta Surgical Initiative

Timely access to surgeries is important to Albertans.

Alberta Health Services (AHS), in partnership with Alberta Health, developed the Alberta Surgical Initiative (ASI), a plan that strives to ensure that all Albertans receive their scheduled surgeries within clinically appropriate targets. We’re focusing on improving the patient’s surgical journey, from the time patients seek advice from their family doctor, to when they are referred to a specialist, to their surgery and rehabilitation.

image of surgeons operating


The Alberta Surgical Initiative has already led to a reduced backlog of cases and in some areas, more surgeries being completed now than before the COVID-19 pandemic. To continue our work to reduce wait-times and improve access to surgeries, AHS is focused on the following actions:

  • Improving management of our waitlists.
  • Implementing provincial referral pathways co-designed with primary care, surgeons, and patients.
  • Implementing initiatives such as day surgery optimization to improve surgical care, quality and outcomes.
  • Improve efficiency and utilization of existing operating rooms.
  • Improving data and analytics to support weekly reporting, and setting waitlist and surgical volume targets.
  • Adding Rapid Access Clinics for orthopedics.
  • Expanding relationships with Chartered Surgical Facilities.
  • Improving how we book surgeries.
  • Optimizing surgical activity at rural sites.
  • ASI capital projects.


  • Reduce wait times for surgery for all Albertans, so that every scheduled surgery is provided within clinically recommended targets.
  • Support partnerships and collaboration between patients, primary care providers and specialists.
  • Enable consistent and transparent measurement of wait times across the patient journey.
  • Ensure that surgical care continues to be equitable, safe and high quality for all Albertans.
  • Ensure long-term viability of Alberta’s healthcare system.

The ASI reflects input from patient advisors, AHS operational leaders, family physicians, surgical teams, clinical and corporate support teams and quality improvement programs.

To support this work, AHS is partnering with the Institute for Healthcare Optimization (IHO), to improve patient outcomes and experience as part of the ASI. IHO is a non-profit organization that works with hospitals and health systems. IHO methodologies will help AHS drive further improvements in surgical flow and patient outcomes.

The Institute will initially focus on supporting AHS teams in process and outcome improvement in six of our larger acute care sites: Chinook Regional Hospital, Foothills Medical Centre, Grande Prairie Regional Hospital, Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre, Royal Alexandra Hospital and the University of Alberta Hospital.

The goal of this work, coupled with other ASI projects, is to continue to improve patient experience, staff and physician experience, better utilize capacity, and improve collaboration and support for primary care providers, surgeons and anesthesiologists.