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.


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.
  • Using artificial intelligence to identify patients at greatest risk of clinical deterioration.
  • Implementing provincial referral pathways co-designed with primary care, surgeons, and patients.
  • Adding Rapid Access Clinics for orthopedics.
  • Expanding relationships with Chartered Surgical Facilities.
  • Improving how we book surgeries.
  • Optimizing surgical activity at rural sites.
  • Alberta Surgical Initiative (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 collaborating with the non-profit organization, Institute for Healthcare Optimization (IHO), to increase Albertans access to care and support the work underway to improve patient outcomes and experience as part of the ASI. This partnership is another significant step forward in ensuring the success of the ASI, and ultimately, getting Albertans the surgical care they need quicker, and creating a sustainable system. The benefits from this work can extend beyond the ASI, as it will also support emergency departments and patient flow, which is another key priority for AHS. This work, in collaboration with other projects under the ASI, will improve patient experience, better utilize capacity and improve collaboration with, and support for, primary care providers and surgeons.