Abstract This study used Manitoba data from 1991 to 1996 to assess the effects of health reforms and technological advances on hospitalization patterns, patient mortality, and readmission rates. Cholecystectomy and hernia repair served as indicators of response to both new technology and health reforms, while appendectomy and hysterectomy helped gauge the impact of health reforms alone. Neither the introduction of new technology (i.e. laparoscopy) nor the health reform initiatives (i.e. shorter hospital stays) adversely affected surgical volumes, postsurgical mortality, or postsurgical readmissions.