Coordinating all of the steps to prepare a patient for surgery takes time. Some patients are able to go straight to surgery without any delays, while others need more time to prepare medically, socially and physically for their surgery, or have conflicts that require rescheduling.

If we plot the wait times in a chart, you will see a bell-shaped curve with a tail stretching out far to the right. This shows that "most" people proceed to surgery within a certain amount of time, but a few people wait much longer than most.

Wait times

The typical wait time reporting in AHS is 90th percentile. This is the time by which 90 percent of all patients have received surgery. Only 1 in 10 patients waited longer than the 90th percentile wait time.

Another common wait time measure is the median, or 50th percentile. This is the time by which half of all patients have received surgery. In other words, half waited more and half waited less than the median wait time.

Similarly, the 25th percentile wait time is the time by which the shortest waiting 25% of patients received surgery.

Many factors determine how long patients wait, including:

  • level of pain and disability
  • medical condition
  • scheduling conflicts
  • scheduling of medical tests