Measuring Progress

Transparent Reporting on Government's Progress

Manitoba’s emergency department/urgent care centre 90th percentile wait time to physician initial assessment

3.9 Hours

Target: Meet or exceed national average (as reported by the Canadian Institute for Health Information) for the maximum amount of time that nine of 10 patients wait to see a provider in an emergency department (ED) or urgent care centre (UCC) in Manitoba. This national average was 3.2 hours as of April 1, 2019.

How we are doing now

90th Percentile ED Wait Time to Physician Initial Assessment (TPIA)

This measure has started to stabilize around 4.0 hours and could be resulting from changes in health system utilization by the public in relation to COVID-19. The value for March 2021 is lower than the 2020 result of 4.7 for the same month.

How we measured

  • Includes all sites that collect Emergency Department Information System Data* – all unscheduled Emergency Department or Urgent Care Centre visits with a valid and known registration date/time or triage date/time and a valid and known physician initial assessment date/time are included.
  • Performance is shown as a 12-month rolling average to adjust for normal month-to-month fluctuations in seasonal demand
  • The unit of measure is hours.
  • The data source is Emergency Department Information System (EDIS).
  • The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) also reports on the ‘Emergency Department Wait Time for Physician Initial Assessment’, which is the same measure, uses the same criteria, and is also reported at the 90th percentile.

* – All Winnipeg ED and urgent care facilities (excluding the CancerCare Manitoba UCC); Brandon and Dauphin (Prairie Mountain Health); Portage la Prairie, Bethesda** and Boundary Trails (Southern Health-Sante Sud); Thompson, Flin Flon, and The Pas (Northern Regional Health Authority); and Selkirk (Interlake-Eastern Regional Health Authority).

How we are doing over time

Please refer to the graph above

Why This Matters

  • Government has prioritized addressing wait times in emergency rooms and for other priority procedures and treatments where Manitoba ranks below the Canadian average.
  • This measure has been identified as a primary indicator of public access to the Manitoba health system – wait time performance of emergency departments can be viewed as the “canary in the mine” – if one or more areas of the health system (e.g. health promotion/public health, primary care, hospital care, long term care, etc.) are not sufficiently responsive to public need then it’s anticipated that it would correlate to higher emergency department volumes and wait times.
  • The wait time for ED/UCC patients to see a provider is a key indicator of timely access to essential health services which help ensure appropriate patient care and promote positive health outcomes. While not a complete measure of time spent in the ED/UCC, the 90th percentile TPIA represents the maximum time the majority of patients will wait to begin receiving treatment – the time during which a patient may be most likely to experience pain and discomfort and even leave the ED/UCC without receiving medical care.

Next steps

  • Achieving this measure has been identified as a two year (April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2021) priority for the health system to meet or exceed the national 90th percentile (3.2 hours as of April 1, 2019).
  • Many aspects of the current Health System Transformation are contributing to improvements in access, wait times, and other contributing factors to improving this ED/UCC wait time performance. Improvements in this measure are anticipated as the transformation program progresses.
  • A new target will be set for April 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. Senior leaders from the regional health authorities, Shared Health, CancerCare Manitoba, Addictions Foundation of Manitoba, and Manitoba Health and Seniors Care meet on a monthly basis to assess progress and have strategies in place to achieve target by March 31, 2022.

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