Researchers from the University of Alberta have recently published a review article on reducing the wait for surgical consultation. Its findings support the implementation of central access and intake, as well as standardized referral forms, and patient choice – all features of the new Alberta FAST (Facilitated Access to Specialized Treatment) program.

FAST, which will manage non-urgent referrals, has already launched in North Zone (Urology and Orthopedics) and South Zone (Urology), and will launch in Central Zone (Urology, Orthopedics, Cataracts) on Aug. 29.

Referring providers are asked to send their referral letters to FAST using their zone’s new toll-free fax number (see here for North, Central and South Zone numbers). Later this fall, provincially standardized referral forms for each participating specialty will be integrated into the major community EMR systems.

FAST offices in Edmonton and Calgary Zones will be launching in October. Fourteen specialties are in queue to join FAST this summer through 2024.

For more information on Alberta FAST, please visit the AMA-ACTT webpage. This work is being supported through the Alberta Surgical Initiative.