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Average time patients waited from decision to treat to completed surgery
Alternate Name
Average wait time to completed surgery

This time represents the average wait time, in days, from when the patient and surgeon decides to proceed with surgery to having the surgery completed.  The average time Wait 2 represents the typical time patients can expect to wait for the surgery to be completed.  The average wait time is reported by the priority level with the most patients.  Patients are assigned a priority level for their surgery by the physician based on clinical evidence.  In this case, the lower the number of days, the better.

Indicator Status
HQO Reporting tool/product
Public reporting
Unit of Measurement
Calculation Methods

Average wait time is calculated by dividing the total number of patient wait days by the total count of cases.


  1. All closed wait list entries with procedure dates within the reporting period.                                 

  2. For adult surgical procedures, patients that are 18 years and older on the day the procedure was completed.

  3. For paediatric surgical procedures, patients that are younger than 23 years on the day the procedure was completed.

  4. Treatment Cancer procedures only.

  5. Patients assigned as Priority Level 2 - 4 for surgery (Wait 2)


  1. Diagnostic, Palliative and Reconstructive cancer procedures.                                                     

  2. Procedures on Skin - Carcinoma, Skin-Melanoma, and Lymphomas.                                           

  3. Procedures no longer required cases                                                                                        

  4. Patients assigned as Priority Level 1 for surgery (Wait 2)

  5. Wait list entries identified by hospitals as data entry errors.

Numerator including inclusion/exclusion


Denominator including inclusion/exclusion


Adjustment (risk, age/sex standardization)- detailed
Data Source
Wait Time Information System (WTIS)
Data provided to HQO by
Cancer Care Ontario (CCO)
Reported Levels of comparability /stratifications (defined)
Corporation, Priority level, Province, Time
Indicator Results
Caveats and Limitations
1. This wait time is collected for patients who have undergone their surgery. That is, patients who are still waiting are not included in the calculation. 2. This wait time is reported not at the surgeon level but rather at the level of the facility where the procedure took place. 3. Ninety among 114 surgical facilities in Ontario report surgical wait times to the WTIS; the remaining 24 facilities do not receive wait time funding for reporting and so do not report wait times. 4. Hospitals with small volumes will be more severely impacted by extreme waits (particularly the average wait time). For example, an unusually long or short wait time for a single patient in a reporting period for hospitals that do not treat a lot of patients (e.g., a small hospital performing cataract surgery) will have a greater impact on the average. 5. Since Wait Time data is reported at the hospital corporation or facility level, facilities with multiple sites will be reported together even though data is collected at each site. Wait Times may also vary by surgeon which will not be apparent in this data as it is reported at the institution level rather than individual surgeon. 6. There are other factors that affect wait times for a surgical procedure or diagnostic exam that do not relate to a hospital’s efficiency, to a particular doctor or the availability of resources. They include: a. Patient Choice – a patient with a non-life-threatening condition may choose a non-surgical treatment or may decide to delay treatment for personal or family reasons to a more convenient time. b. Patient Condition – a patient’s condition may need to improve before the surgery or exam takes place. c. Follow-up Care – a patient who has an existing condition may be pre-booked for a follow-up treatment or exam a long time in advance. d. Treatment Complexity – a patient with special requirements may need specific equipment or a certain kind of facility and there is a delay until these can be scheduled.
Comments Detailed
If patient unavailable dates fall outside the Decision to Treat Date up to the Procedure Date, the patient unavailable dates are not deducted from the patient's wait days. These are considered data entry errors.
Acute Care/Hospital
Wait Times
Wait Time Information System (WTIS)
Publish Datetime
09/08/2017 17:13:00