Single-Entry Models for Improved Access to Care

Held May 19, 2015

Watch the Webinar Video 


Despite a decade of efforts to reduce wait times and improve access to care, access to scheduled healthcare services remains a concern for patients and professionals alike. Single-entry models (SEMs) – where patients assemble in a single queue, rather than in multiple queues, to see the first-available service provider – have helped many organizations better manage access to scheduled health services, demonstrating sustained wait time reductions and improved patient care experience. Using a single queue provides standardized data, essential for managing and reducing wait lists. It also ensures the sickest patients are treated first, regardless of who their primary care provider is or where they live.

Based on queuing theory, a mathematical method of analyzing the congestions and delays of waiting in line, SEMs have been successfully and widely implemented in service industries. As with any intervention introduced into a complex system, implementing a SEM requires thoughtful design, implementation and change management, including consideration of potential consequences for the system at-large. A solid understanding of SEMs can lead to their successful implementation, contributing to sustainable healthcare systems that effectively and efficiently respond to the needs of Canadian patients.

Learning Objectives:

  • Discover the basic principles of SEMs and the specific features that contribute to successful implementation
  • Explore case examples of health organizations that have successfully established a SEM
  • Share best practices and challenges with others working to implement SEMs


thomas noseworthy imageThomas William Noseworthy, CM MD MSc MPH FRCPC FACP CHE

Dr Tom Noseworthy is Professor of Health Policy and Management, Department of Community Health Sciences and Institute for Public Health, University of Calgary. He is the former Head of that Department and inaugural Co-Director of that Institute. Dr Noseworthy is a physician, with specialty certification in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the American Colleges of Physicians, American College of Chest Physicians and American College of Critical Care Medicine. Dr Noseworthy is the former Vice President, Medical Services, and CEO of the Royal Alexandra Hospitals, Edmonton; and, Chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta. He holds a Master of Science in Experimental Medicine from the University of Alberta, and a Master of Public Health - Health Policy and Management from Harvard University.

Dr Noseworthy joined Alberta Health Services in May 2011, as special advisor to the Executive Vice President of Strategy & Performance. From January 2012 to 2015, he was the Associate Chief Medical Officer, Strategic Clinical Networks. As interim assignments, from September 1, 2012 to March 31, 2013, Dr Noseworthy served as Edmonton Zone Medical Director. From September 10, 2013 to January 20, 2014, Dr Noseworthy was the Vice President and Chief Health Operations Officer, North & Edmonton.

Dr Noseworthy’s work has been recognized by the Commonwealth, his Country, Province, University and colleagues. In 2005, Dr Noseworthy was awarded the Alberta Centennial Medal by the Province of Alberta for contributions to health care and policy. In that same year, he was also named as one of Alberta’s Top 100 Physicians of the Century by his peers in the Alberta Medical Association and College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta. In 2007, Dr Noseworthy was appointed by the Governor General as Member of the Order of Canada, for contributions to health policy and Medicare. In 2012, he received the Diamond Jubilee medal marking the 60th year of the Queen’s reign and in recognition of contributions to health care. He was also chosen from amongst the U of C faculty to give the 2012 Lecture of a Lifetime. He received a Certificate of Meritorious Service from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta for 2012. He was the recipient of the 2014 CIHR Barer-Flood Prize in Health Services and Policy Research.



Stephen Samis imageStephen Samis, Vice-President, Programs, CFHI

Read biography >>