Alberta Coding Access Targets for Surgery (ACATS)

Surgery SCN

The right treatment. The right time.

ACATS is a Surgery Strategic Clinical Network (SSCN)-sponsored project aimed at helping surgeons deliver exceptional surgical care in a safe and timely manner.

As part of the SSCN’s Surgical Access vision, we want to help physicians deliver the right treatment at the right time, from the time a referral is made to the time a patient is discharged. ACATS is the first step in providing baseline data from the ready to treat date to the surgery date.

Bookmark this page for provincial and zone-based updates, training and resources, best practices and all other ACATS-related information.


In response to the need to deliver surgical care to the right patient at the right time in the right place, the Surgery Strategic Clinical Network (SSCN) sponsored the Alberta Coding Access Targets for Surgery (ACATS) project to measure, monitor and manage wait lists for surgery.

ACATS is an Alberta-developed, standardized coding system to help prioritize scheduled surgeries offered at facilities throughout the province, depending on a patient’s diagnosis and level of urgency.

ACATS assists patients understand his or her surgical wait time, which is dependent on diagnosis, ready-to-treat date and level of urgency; surgeons deliver the right treatment to the right patient at the right time; and the health system support the highest quality, patient-centered care.

Urgent and Emergent Coding

Working with Zone Clinical Operations, the Surgery Strategic Clinical Network (SSCN) developed a provincial, standardized priority classification system for emergency and urgent surgeries. The standard priorities cover the time frame of trauma (ASAP) to less than 7 days. The priorities have been reviewed and accepted by the Connect Care area council for Surgery.

The goal is to improve patient safety, quality of care and efficiency in the throughput of surgical patients. The defined ideal times to surgery are based on clinical indicators according to disease process and physiological state. They are founded by evidence where possible and validated with consensus across the province. This should result in greater consistency for decision making for surgical patients, increased patient safety and consistency of scheduling across the different surgical services.


Quick Reference


Send Your Feedback

For staff working in Alberta Health Services, Alberta Health or those contracted in the area of surgery, please send your comments, questions or suggestions to

If you are looking for information on surgical wait times, visit Alberta Health – Alberta Wait Times Reporting.