Improving the health system

The Alberta Health Services performance review found ways to use the cost savings to direct more funding to patients and front-line care to cut growing wait times.

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Improving the health system

AHS performance review

A comprehensive review of Alberta Health Services (AHS) was conducted in 2019 by independent contractor Ernst and Young (EY). AHS is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health care to more than 4 million Albertans.

AHS provides the best possible care at every facility and Albertans receive good value for their money. An overwhelming 90% of AHS staff survey respondents agreed that protecting and strengthening the sustainability of Alberta's health system should be a key AHS priority.

The review is part of our larger commitment to improve access and make the health system work better for patients. This involves finding savings and reinvesting them back into the system so we can make Alberta’s health system one of the best in the world.

Review engagement

This was AHS's first performance review since it was formed 10 years ago. Tens of thousands of people were consulted, including AHS staff, physicians, health experts and citizens. Their input was used to:

  • clearly identify how health care dollars are being spent
  • identify opportunities for improvement
  • provide recommendations on achieving long-term sustainability of the health system


The Alberta Health Services performance review report outlined 57 recommendations for improvement. The Health Minister accepted the report, with two important exceptions: no hospitals will be closed, and urban trauma centres will not be consolidated.

Key areas addressed

  1. People
    Looking at the workforce, including front-line, management and physicians. (Recommendations 1-13)

  2. Clinical services
    Examining the use of services, procedures and resources in clinics, how care is delivered cross the province, and support services such as diagnostic imaging, pharmacy and emergency medical services. (Recommendations 14-34)

  1. Non-clinical services
    Addressing non-clinical support services, corporate and back office services and supply chain. (Recommendations 35-44)

  2. Governance
    Looking at duplication and accountability. (Recommendations 45-52)

  3. Implementation
    Outlining the path forward for transforming Alberta's health care system. (Recommendations 53-57)


Implementation plan and next steps

Alberta Health Services submitted its AHS Review implementation plan to government. While AHS is working to implement the initiatives, some will take years to complete.

On October 13, 2020, Alberta’s government has directed AHS to proceed with only a portion of the actions identified in the plan, as the health care system continues to focus on response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Next steps

AHS will develop a detailed engagement and implementation plan for each initiative and will engage staff and stakeholders as changes take place. Albertans will receive regular progress updates.

These initiatives are expected to yield up to $600 million dollars in annual savings, when fully implemented.