Effective Primary Care Interventions and Strategies to Mitigate Overcrowding of Emergency Departments: A Knowledge Synthesis


Nominated Principal Applicant: Maya Jeyaraman

Principal Applicant: Cristina Villa-Roel

Principal Knowledge Users: William Sevcik

Knowledge users: Melissa Hartwell (patient partner)

Partners: Alberta Emergency Medicine Research Group (EMeRG)

Collaborators: PIHCI network (Alberta), Patient Engagement Platforms - SPOR SUPPORT unit (Alberta), Emergency Strategic Clinical Network (ESCN)


Lay Abstract: 

In Canada, and worldwide, healthcare systems face overcrowding of the emergency departments (ED) leading to challenges in delivery of healthcare to patients and worse patient outcomes. ED Overcrowding occurs when the demand for emergency services exceeds its ability to provide quality care to patients within acceptable time frames. The problem of ED overcrowding is complex and challenging, and one of the key factors contributing to ED overcrowding is large volume of non-urgent patients visiting EDs due to lack of access to a regular family doctor and after-hours services. Research studies have evaluated several interventions and strategies to improve primary care services that could reduce the number of patients visiting ED or to integrate primary care professionals in various ways in and around ED to reduce overcrowding of ED. The main objective of our research project is to identify the most up-to-date evidence on the primary care interventions and strategies to reduce ED overcrowding and thus patient wait times. We engaged patients with lived experience visiting ED during the development of our proposed project to identify and refine research priorities and outcomes important to patients. We plan to collect and summarize evidence from all the research studies and report the most effective primary care interventions and strategies that could transform primary care services as well as emergency care services provided in Canada. Our project has a potential to improve patient outcomes, health of Canadians and strengthen the Canadian Healthcare system


The Alberta SPOR PIHCIN will provide support for this project in the following areas:

  • Providing access to networking support in Alberta and nationally through the SPOR PIHCIN network of networks;

  • Facilitate collaboration with the Alberta Health Services Emergency Strategic Clinical Network;

  • Liaison to the Primary Health Care Integration Network;

  • Liaison to Alberta Health;

  • Members of the AB SPOR PIHCIN will join the project team steering committee;

  • Provision of feedback from a panel of patients and community members for the network letter of intent; and

  • Facilitation of requested expertise from the seven Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit Platforms to ensure that integration from research into care has a significant positive impact for patients and the health care system.


Conference presentation: (to be updated)

Publication: (to be updated)


Contact information:

Dr. Maya Jeyaraman