Emergency Department Overcrowding

Pan-Canadian Guidance

The CADTH Health Technology Expert Review Panel (HTERP) convened to develop objective, impartial, trusted pan-Canadian guidance to inform decisions about which evidence-informed solutions should be considered to help alleviate ED overcrowding in Canada.

What Is HTERP’s Guidance to Help Alleviate ED Overcrowding?

  • Interventions to alleviate overcrowding need to align with the main contributing factors to ED overcrowding in the particular context in which they will be implemented.  
  • Understanding the context in which ED overcrowding is occurring, with attention to bottlenecks to patient flow, should be the first step to identify evidence-informed solutions.  
  • Transparency and accountability should be key principles in ED, hospital, and health system operations. HTERP recommends identifying and ensuring clear roles, responsibilities, and reporting relationships embedded within an accountability framework for ED overcrowding across health system partners, including a commitment to act on data.  
  • Each province and territory should mandate consistent and comprehensive reporting by all hospitals to the Canadian Institute of Health Information’s National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS) database.  
  • Guidance from HTERP includes an Evidence Navigation Guide to support identification of evidence-informed interventions to help alleviate ED overcrowding, including an online list of potential interventions  to consider that have been assessed through CADTH evidence reviews and HTERP expert opinion. 

CADTH Guidance

What are the Potential Interventions?

Find potential interventions to help alleviate ED overcrowding with the support of Step 2 of CADTH's Evidence Navigation Guide, where all interventions identified by experts and those that are included in CADTH’s reviews, are organized into 5 categories: input (flow into the ED), throughput (flow within the ED), output (flow out of the ED), outside the ED, and multicomponent interventions.

Find Potential Interventions