Interview with Epic's Judy Faulkner

Epic Systems' CEO, Judy Faulkner, was interviewed at HIMSS 2019, with some interesting reflections about physician burnout, the importance of personalization and the value of building builder capacity in clinician communities. Worth a skim:


Connect Care Specialty Clinical System Design Decisions - Milestone Achieved!

As of Friday morning, February 8, 2019, at 10:58, we achieved 100% completion (2663 documented, 0 remaining) of the essential specialty Clinical System Design (CSD) decisions needed for Connect Care configuration and build. We made our deadline!


Mobility Key to Physician Efficiency

We've previously posted about what physicians hope for from a clinical information system (CIS); highlighting the daily informational gripes that can be eased with good process and product in the hands of eHealth-literate physicians. Our day-in-the-life demonstration showed how new ways of interacting with the health record could help physicians manage complex information tasks.

Interesting to note how the more positive US EHR press (there's lots of negative these days!) showcases the difference that mobile apps can make. It's not that the entire health record is better experienced on a small screen; instead a few practical helpmates with focused interfaces that are easy to use everywhere physicians work. A recent Forbes article praises of mobile apps, citing functions that we deploy with Connect Care:


Patient Portals Bridge the Care Continuum

We may think of a Patient Portal as a window for exposing health record content to patients... as this is the most prevalent application to date.

Connect Care seeks much more from the patient-facing information services. We want the clinical information system (CIS) to be used by patients as much as by their providers. Communication, way-finding, symptom surveillance, education, decision-support, e-visits and scheduling are just some salves for the information fragmentation that so frustrates our clients' experience of health care. Indeed, we may want to talk less of "portals" and more of "bridges"; connoting connection, bi-directional interaction, and gap-mitigation.

Many patients first experience informational fragmentation at the beginning of their health encounters, especially when "on-boarding". Effective information bridges could optimally pre-shape a wide range of patient-provider-team interactions. A number of organizations have been innovating with inclusive information services that use communication to break through traditional portal constraints.

Microsoft spotlights case-studies of promising health information innovations. A recent example cites the experience of Nicklaus Children's Health System with digital communication networks for patients and families. Obviously not peer-reviewed evidence, but interesting read nonetheless:


Epic again top of Klas

Epic System's electronic health record software, the centrepiece of Connect Care's clinical information system (CIS), continues to excel in the 'Best in KLAS' awards.

The 2019 awards, based on an annual survey of health information system users (including opinions of physicians and other health care decision-makers from >4,500 hospitals and >2,500 clinics), go to Epic in the categories of Inpatient, Outpatient, Laboratory, Patient Management, Health Information Exchange and Patient Portals.

We are happy to work with such a strong technology partner!


Care Transformation through Informatics

A recent cover story in the Alberta Doctors' Digest summarizes current state and future opportunities for systems interoperation in the province of Alberta. The significance of Connect Care de-fragmenting the health information space within Alberta Health Services is acknowledged. Worth a read:


Connect Care February 1 2019 Newsletter Posted

The February, 2019, Connect Care Newsletter is available via the link below; covering the Wave 1 launch, the latest on trainer recruitment and how clinical documentation is being standardized in the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS).


Wave 1 Launch Event Video Snapshot

The energy was electric at the Walter C. Mackenzie Campus on Jan. 17, as hundreds of staff and physicians packed the atrium for the campus’ Wave 1 launch celebrations.

Participants had the chance to hear from site leaders, participate in a flash mob dance, view system demos and discuss hopes and fears. We've previously posted about the evening physician event, sponsored by the Edmonton Zone Medical Staff Society. Below is a video synopsis of the daytime happenings.


How will Physicians be Trained for Connect Care?

Plans for Connect Care physician training continue to gel. Although the first wave launch is not until November, training starts long before then.

Physicians can learn more about what to expect by skimming any of the following resources (shortest listed first), or viewing a 10 minute online presentation.


Building AHS Capacity through Connect Care

That Connect Care is about transformation, not technology, is our constant refrain. A necessary condition for success is that we grow the capacity of our people so that clinical information system (CIS) capabilities are used to clinical advantage. In this we are already successful.

We prepare by empowering our people. To date, investments in the AHS physician community include:
  • 1 CMIO and 5 Associate CMIOs
  • 5 Provincial Physician Design Leads
  • 62 Medical Informatics Leads
  • 22 Provincial Knowledge Leads
  • 39 Physicians enrolled in Power User training, 7 already certified
  • 32 Physicians started Physician Builder training, 11 already certified
  • Over 400 physicians participating in Clinical System Design
  • 13 Provincial Physician Trainers certified
This cadre of capable physicians will assure CIS uptake through leadership, role-modelling, user-group facilitation, Super User mentoring and committee/council/workgroup participation. Even greater numbers reflect growing capacity in clinical operations and multidisciplinary teams.

Experience teaches that a large and complex health information system initiative attains success first through well-organized communities of capable people, second through solid processes and last through a well-configured CIS product. We are building momentum!


Readiness Activities Moving Ahead

The Connect Care Readiness Playbook (playbook.connect-care.ca), available to all Alberta Health Services (AHS) staff and physicians, is a one-stop resource to help users prepare for clinical information system launch at a program or site. It includes the information and tools needed to organize and track key readiness activities.

The Playbook continues to take shape. The latest release gives more detail about how our work will change, emphasizing positive prospects that can build excitement for transformation. Recent additions include sections offering practical guidance about steps to get ready for implementation.

Where the Readiness Playbook emphasizes information that multidisciplinary teams need to help them get ready for launch, the Connect Care Physician Handbook offers more focused tips for physicians.


Be Sure to Subscribe

As we approach the first Connect Care clinical information system launch, more needs to be communicated more quickly.

One advantage of using blogging services to fan-out news for Connect Care stakeholders is that one can "subscribe" to receive alerts to new material. Alerts can be received via electronic mail, a news reader (RSS feed) or other social media (e.g. Twitter).

Please subscribe to this feed (and/or other feeds listed in physician resources) in order to get important information when it matters most:


Connect Care Resources for Physicians Updated

The Alberta Health Services Chief Medical Information Office has updated a list of resources for physicians interested in the Connect Care initiative. Also updated are external (public web) and internal (AHS Insite intranet) pages.

New communications services include a video (vlog) collection of short Connect Care presentations, a demonstrations blog highlighting key clinical information system functions (requires AHS username/password for access), and an updates channel for the medical informatics community.


Save the Date: Why Clinical Quality Management Should be a Core Focus

Dr. Brent James presents  in the AHS President Speaker Series on February 1, 2019,  about how internal evidence (information we gather about those we serve) can drive quality healthcare delivery and improve health outcomes.

Albertans trust us to learn from every encounter they have with the healthcare system. With Connect Care, we have a renewed opportunity to use the clinical information we gather to guide our practices, make improvements across the system, and further cement Alberta Health Services as an organization dedicated to continuous learning.

Dr. James is world-renowned for his work in improving the quality of patient care while reducing the cost of treatment. He is currently part of the Master of Health Care Administration faculty at the University of Utah, and was previously Chief Quality Officer and Executive Director of the Institute for Health Care Delivery at Intermountain Healthcare in Salt Lake City.


Learning to Love your CIS - 5 - Hopes

The clinical information system (CIS) toolkit available to Connect Care is vastly superior to anything we’ve seen before. Even so, the key to success, again, is support for our people.

So what do our clinicians want? We took time to ask that question… through focus groups, surveys and town hall discussions with clinicians across Alberta.

The responses grouped into 5 themes that now drive Connect Care design and build. Our clinicians seek: Convenience, Connection, Customization, Consolidation, and Control. Each of these hopes is explored, together with specific fulfillment examples, in the final part of our recent Wave 1 Launch event presentations. Follow the link to view the last part of our presentation, with further links to slides and handouts.


Learning to Love your CIS - 4 - Day-in-the-Life

During our recent Wave 1 Launch event, we tallied some of the ways in which Electronic Health Records (EHR) can negatively affect clinical practice. We also categorized fears prevalent among our physician colleagues, while highlighting tangible preparations that could protect us from harm. Clearly, we seek an experience different from what we find in a jittery EHR press.

So, what might that experience look like? The likely answer for most of us is: not what we imagine. Perhaps the simplest way of portraying this is to consider how Connect Care could help a typical AHS physician; before, during and after direct patient contact.

Follow the link to view our presentation and demonstrations, with further links to slides and handouts. An AHS user name and password will be required to view these presentations.


Learning to Love your CIS - 3 - Fears

The consistent lesson from studies of large clinical information system (CIS) initiatives is that success is contingent first on people, then process, and finally matters of product. Almost all the problems cited in the "EHR State of Mind" rap can be addressed when our people use informatics to serve, not enslave, good process.

Obviously, fearful people do not perform well. We must face our fears in order to have credible hope.

Our analysis of the CIS engagement literature, media, and local consultations boils down to 5 fears; that the coming CIS will be: inconvenient, inefficient, institutionalizing, insensitive and insatiable… with the sum of all fears that Connect Care will Disconnect us from Care.

As part of our recent Wave 1 Launch event, we examined each class of fear in turn, calling out what we are doing through Connect Care design, build, training and change-management to mitigate possible harms. Follow the link to view this part of our presentation, with further links to slides and handouts.


Learning to Love your CIS - 2 - CIS Dysphoria

The ZDoggMD "EHR State of Mind" video rap has been getting a lot of attention among our physician communities. It does a great job characterizing "CIS Dysphoria", channelling a number points made in more traditional communications about the effects of Electronic Health Record (EHR) initiatives south of the border.

As part of our recent Wave 1 Launch event, we inventoried the potential harms highlighted in this popular diatribe, linking those to studies of the impacts of EHRs on clinical practice. Follow the link to view the video, then our appraisal, with further links to slides and handouts.


Learning to Love your CIS - 1 - Why it Matters

Inspired by a vision of “Better Health, Powered by Information”, the Connect Care value proposition emphasizes consolidation of over 1,300 information systems into a comprehensive, continuum of care, clinical information system (or CIS).

That’s fine for Alberta Health Services, but why should physicians care about Connect Care? Answering this question really matters. If clinicians do not embrace the CIS, it is unlikely that any meaningful use will take hold.

Our recent Wave 1 Launch event gave opportunity to consider how we can move from fear through hope to adoption and leverage of the Connect Care CIS. Follow the link to view the first part of our presentation, with further links to slides and handouts.