SurgeCon: An Emergency Department Surge Management Platform

Lay Summary 

Canadian emergency departments (ED) have some of the longest wait times compared to many other first world countries. Extreme waits mean patients will be in pain or discomfort for hours before being seen which can cause serious harm. To address this healthcare system challenge and improve patient experiences, we propose SurgeCon, a quality improvement initiative to reduce ED wait times. SurgeCon includes an electronic Health component, a training program for ED staff, and a series of quality improvement initiatives. SurgeCon provides ED staff with different tasks to complete to improve efficiency based on real-time information (E.g. bed availability, average wait times, available resources, etc.). We tested SurgeCon in a rural hospital ED and found it reduced the average wait time from 104 minutes to 42 minutes, the total time spent in the ED from 199 minutes to 134 minutes, and the proportion of patients who left the ED without being seen by a doctor from 12.1% to 4.6%. This application aims to determine whether these results can be reproduced in other hospitals. To keep the study relevant to patient priorities, patients selected the outcomes that the team should measure (wait times, patient satisfaction, etc.). To ensure our solution results in positive change that addresses these priorities, we have partnered with Eastern Health (EH), the largest regional health authority in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL). EH is responsible for both rural and urban hospitals, reflecting the diversity of hospitals across the rest of Canada. Using an innovative study design, we will measure SurgeCon's effect on ED wait times and patient experience through a patient survey. At the same time, we will determine the cost of implementation and the departmental factors which result in improved ED performance. Working closely with EH as a collaborator and testing SurgeCon in rural and urban EDs will prepare it for future use by other health regions in NL and across Canada.


A full list of collaborators can be found here.


Adapted from:

Clinical Disciplines - Family Medicine
Canadian Institutes Of Health Research
Newfoundland and Labrador
Start date 
1 Apr 2019
End date 
31 Mar 2023
Partner Organization 
Eastern Health (NL)