Nearly four years after its implementation, Alberta Health Services says its Hip and Knee Replacement Program has dropped the average wait time for surgery by nearly three weeks.

“As a government, we’re committed to improving the performance of our health care system and today’s update on hip and knee surgeries shows that we’re moving in the right direction,” said Health Minister Fred Horne during a Thursday afternoon announcement at the Sheldon M. Chumir Centre. “I’m sure this is welcomed news for the many Albertans that have this type of surgery every year and are able to get back to their normal lives sooner because of this program.”

The program, which launched in 2010, has resulted in:

  • A 12% reduction in the average wait time from surgery decision to surgery date (reduced to 19.2 weeks)
  • A reduction in the average length of post-surgery hospital stays to 4.1 days for knee and hip surgeries (reduced from 4.9 days for hip replacement and 4.6 days for knee replacement)
  • An increase in patient satisfaction (rate increased from 86% to 98%)

The reduction in the length of hospital stay has freed up nearly 33,000 days of hospital bed space since 2010.

“We are always focused firstly on improving care for patients but we also need to ensure we get the best value for our health care dollars and help make our system sustainable,” said Dr. Don Dick, Senior Medical Director of AHS’ Bone and Joint Health Strategic Clinical Network. “The hip and knee replacement program does both.”

Each year, approximately 10,000 hip and knee replacement surgeries are performed in Alberta.