NACRS emergency department visits and lengths of stay

December 8, 2022 — The data collected by CIHI’s National Ambulatory Care Reporting System (NACRS) provides valuable insights into emergency department (ED) visits and lengths of stay reported by participating provinces and territories in Canada. 

NACRS data shows that from April 2021 to March 2022, there were almost 14.0 million unscheduled ED visits reported in Canada — up from more than 11.7 million in 2020–2021, the first year of the pandemic. This increase puts the number of ED visits closer to pre-pandemic volumes (almost 15.1 million in 2019–2020). 

Use the data tables to explore the most recent information on ED visits and lengths of stay by participating province and territory.

Key findings

  • Reported ED visits rose to almost 14.0 million in 2021–2022, up from about 11.7 million in 2020–2021. The volume of visits has almost returned to pre-pandemic levels. 

  • While ED visits climbed to near pre-pandemic volumes across all age groups, the largest increase was observed in the youngest age group (0 to 4 years), where volumes almost doubled — from just over 567,000 in 2020–2021 to more than 1 million in 2021–2022. 

  • Consistent with previous years, patients admitted to hospital in 2021–2022 had longer ED stays compared with patients who were discharged home following a less urgent ED visit. For those admitted to hospital, 9 out of 10 ED visits were completed within 40.7 hours; for those who were discharged, 7.0 hours.

  • For admitted patients, ED stays were longer in 2021–2022 than in 2020–2021, with 9 out of 10 ED visits completed within 40.7 hours versus 33.5 hours, respectively. 

  • 2021–2022 data shows that COVID-19 was the 4th most frequent main problem diagnosis, up from 10th in 2020–2021. Abdominal and pelvic pain, and pain in the throat and chest continued to be the most frequent main problem diagnoses in EDs. 

  • The next provisional data release will be in February 2023. It will include information on ED visits from April 1, 2022, to September 30, 2022 (Q1 to Q2 2022–2023).

Featured material

NACRS Emergency Department Visits and Lengths of Stay by Province/Territory, 2021–2022

These tables contain the most recent information on ED visits and lengths of stay by province and territory, based on data submitted to NACRS.

Download data tables (XLSX)

NACRS Emergency Department Visits: Volumes and Median Lengths of Stay, 2003–2004 to 2021–2022 — Supplementary Statistics

These data tables contain information on ED visit volumes and duration of ED visits by triage level, disposition, age/sex group and selected main problems.

Download data tables (XLSX)

NACRS Emergency Department Visits and Lengths of Stay by Province/Territory, 2021–2022 (Q1 to Q4) 

The tables contain the most recent information on ED visits and lengths of stay from April 2021 to March 2022, based on data submitted to NACRS.

Download data tables (XLSX)

 

How to cite:

Canadian Institute for Health Information. NACRS emergency department visits and lengths of stay [Product release]. Accessed January 28, 2023.

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