CIHI Release: Significant 10-year increase in the number of surgeries performed in Canadian hospitals

New CIHI analysis shows a shift from inpatient surgeries to day surgeries

January 10, 2007 – The overall number of surgeries being performed in Canadian hospitals has increased by 17% between 1995–1996 and 2005–2006, and by 5% over the last year, according to new analysis released today by the Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI). This first look at a 10-year trend reveals that in hospitals across the country, more surgeries are being performed in an outpatient day surgery setting (an increase of 31% over 10 years), while inpatient surgeries have decreased by 17% over the past decade.

The increasing volume of surgeries has been accompanied by a decreasing volume of hospital admissions. Overall, Canada’s acute care hospitals handled approximately 2.8 million inpatient stays in 2005–2006, a decline of 13% since 1995–1996. Inpatient hospitalizations continued to decrease after adjustment was made for Canada’s population growth and aging. About 8 out of every 100 Canadians were admitted to hospitals in 2005–2006, compared to 11 out of 100 in 1995–1996, representing a decrease of 25% over 10 years.

The situation is similar across the country, with all provinces and one territory reporting a decrease of at least 17% in the age-adjusted hospital admission rate. The largest decreases were reported by Nova Scotia (-29%), British Columbia (-27%) and Ontario (-26%).

Since 1995–1996, the total number of days spent in acute care hospitals decreased from 23.3 million to 20.3 million in 2005–2006, representing 3 million fewer days, a decline of 13%. However, the average length of stay in acute care hospitals in Canada has remained relatively stable over the past decade, at 7.2 days, ranging from 7.0 to 7.4 days.

The analysis, Trends in Acute Inpatient Hospitalizations and Day Surgery Visits in Canada, 1995–1996 to 2005–2006, suggests that advances in medical technology leading to more efficient ways of treating patients are associated with the decreasing number of inpatient hospitalizations.

About CIHI

The Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) collects and analyzes information on health and health care in Canada and makes it publicly available. Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial governments created CIHI as a not-for-profit, independent organization dedicated to forging a common approach to Canadian health information. CIHI’s goal: to provide timely, accurate and comparable information. CIHI’s data and reports inform health policies, support the effective delivery of health services and raise awareness among Canadians of the factors that contribute to good health.