Non-Medical Device Workflows

The Connect Care communications team has produced a nice video illustrating how clinicians can interact with non-medical devices (computers, mobility, etc.) in inpatient environments.


Digital Professionalism - Its about Quality

The Alberta College of Physicians and Surgeons promotes professionalism; including helping us re-imagine what that means for a digitally-enabled professional. Dr. Ewan Affleck, a renowned eHealth innovator (former CMIO among many other roles), is working with the College to consider how our understanding of professionalism, indeed what it means to be an effective clinician, can adapt to an increasingly complex informational milieux.

The CPSA has recently posted a nice backgrounder about Digital Medicine, a growing focus for College thinking and advocacy:


Anticipating Cyber Attacks

Exercising practical paranoia includes anticipating attack and planning for collateral damage. Clinicians working in digitally-enabled workplaces should recognize that cyber attacks are both likely and likely to damage to one's practice, patients, finances and reputation.

The latest Alberta Medical Association newsletter includes a short piece about cyber attacks, emphasizing likely damages and making a case for cyber liability insurance. Categories of harm include theft of funds, theft of data, damage to data, recovery expenses, privacy breach fines and extortion. Worth a read and reflection:


Connect Care Physician Area Trainer Opportunities

We've previously posted about Physician Area Trainer recruitment, a great opportunity for interested clinicians to benefit from exceptional clinical information system orientation and change management coaching. Stipend-supported Area Trainers can supplement their usual clinical activities, play a pivotal role at Connect Care launch and positively impact health care in Alberta.

In addition to a posting and role description, linked below is an early guide for clinicians potentially interested in the Area Trainer role. The guide clarifies how Area Trainers are themselves trained. The support stipend is explained. Overall time expectations are outlined for before, during and after launch.


Connect Care May 10 2019 Newsletter Posted

The May 10, 2019, Connect Care Newsletter is available via the link below; covering 1) Wave 1 Physician Super User and Area Trainer recruitment, and 2) Sneek peek at non-medical devices.


Sneak Peak - Inpatient non-medical devices

Intense work continues to prepare our workplaces for Connect Care launch. We make much of "going digital" but may not appreciate all the technology that must be in place to free us from paper constraints.

The technologies of immediate interest to clinicians allow us to directly interact with the clinical information system (CIS). These devices are "non-medical" to the extent that they are not subject to regulations governing medical measurements or interventions (medical devices).

The Connect Care non-medical device mix will include, in addition to conventional desktop computers, mobile workstations, wall-mounted large-screen dashboard displays, notebook computers and tablets. The Information Technology team has released a video demonstrating some inpatient non-medical devices planned for Connect Care:


Practical Paranoia

Physicians serve patients with care, compassion and respect. Key to respect is privacy protection. Its loss can negatively impact health every bit as much as diagnostic or therapeutic harms.

Unfortunately, health information is increasingly attractive to criminals. It can be stolen and held for ransom or for re-selling to the highest bidder. And criminals learned long ago that technical and security hacks are not worth the effort. The easiest way breach a fortification is to simply walk through the front door with a user's trusted credentials. And the easiest way to get those is to dupe us into giving them up. Our greatest security vulnerability is neuron, not electron, based.

Thus the need for practical, purposeful paranoia. Physicians should adopt an attitude of universal mistrust when it comes to information sharing. Keep clinical content (of all types) to secured clinical information systems. Never accept requests for logon credentials.

And so on. We could list many do's and don'ts. But that would miss the point. New neuron-targeted tricks are inevitable. The goal is to protect against what will appear on future lists.

We'll be revisiting this topic frequently, sharing learnings from as many of our colleagues as possible. Please offer suggestions and questions to keep the paranoia alive!


Connect Care May 2019 Calendar

A summary of key Connect Care happenings in May 2019 has been posted to the Alberta Health Services (AHS) internal Connect Care website, linked below.

High priority activities continue to relate to infrastructure, build, validation, training and readiness.

Area councils and specialty workgroups start to see products of their specialty clinical system design and orderset work. Content is corrected and refined, getting it ready for launch while informing training curricula and readiness assessment events.


Wave 2 Launch Event in Lacombe and Red Deer

Implementation of Connect Care takes a phased approach, with each implementation wave bringing Alberta Health Services closer to becoming the most integrated and accessible healthcare system in Canada. The first wave launches in November, 2019, bringing the University of Alberta Hospital, Stollery Childrens Hospital, Mazankowski Heart Instituted and all eCLINICIAN clinics to full clinical information system (CIS) implementation.

After a short period for review and optimization, a second wave launches a year from now at select sites in the Calgary and Central Zones.

Operational and clinical leaders gathered in Lacombe April 24 for an energizing introduction to wave 2 readiness preparations. Demonstrations gave attendees a tangible sense of how clinical care, including medical device use, bridge to Connect Care.

Later in the day, zone physicians gathered in Red Deer to see the emerging CIS and discuss how to take advantage of workflow-enhancing mobile solutions. Super User and Area Trainer roles were promoted, with the Central Zone ACMIO, Dr. Steven Turner eager to hear from interested physicians.


How Connect Care will Affect Us

Everyone wants to know: how will Connect Care affect me?

To anticipate what is coming, we have developed a "Day in the Life" poster series with short vignettes highlighting impacts for a wide range of clinical and support roles. These are available for download on the Alberta Health Services intranet (Insite)... worth checking from time to time as the collection grows and improves. Two directly relate to physician experiences:

Thanks to those willing to be showcased, these posters feature real Alberta Health Services providers in their everyday roles, showing how Connect Care can affect (and improve!) workflows. Patient and family stories are also featured. We hope to accrue 60 or more posters, featuring situations just like yours.

You are encouraged to download, print (both colour and black-and-white versions available) and share the posters among colleagues. If you have any suggestions for enhancements or additions, please email connectcare@ahs.ca.


Back Again!

Outward facing Connect Care communications took an (invited) break during the weeks immediately leading up to today's provincial election. We've missed sharing through this blog!

Back again, we'll resume daily postings about topics of interest to Connect Care users. Remember that there are other communications channels more attuned to specific interests; including medical leadership, clinical system design, medical informatics, primary care and clinical builders.


Connect Care April 2019 Calendar

A summary of key Connect Care happenings in April 2019 has been posted to the Alberta Health Services (AHS) internal Connect Care website, linked below.

High priority activities include robust testing in many areas to ensure that the intended workflows can be supported. Scaleable data centres are readied for activation next month. Credentialed trainer preparation continues and recruitment begins for Super Users and Area Trainers.


Seeking Connect Care Super Users

We've previously posted about Connect Care Physician Super Users. These physicians, clinicians or trainees become clinical experts in use of the clinical information system (CIS) and trusted resources to peers learning new workflows. As the Wave 1 launch rapidly approaches, we are recruiting in earnest!

Super Users are sought and supported from all clinical departments, ideally to a launch-density of one in every ten clinicians. They have three areas of focus:
  • Provide in classroom support as their colleagues move through Connect Care training; 
  • Provide ‘at the elbow’ support during the two weeks around launch; 
  • Support post-launch activities. 
Super Users have clinical "street-smarts", with a pragmatic understanding of how clinical service works in busy facilities and clinics. They enjoy clinical and technical challenges, are approachable, communicate well, and excel at just-in-time problem solving. Interested practitioners are supported by other Connect Care trainers, gain change-agent coaching, and take advantage of special training pathways for their practice area.

Recruitment and hiring is coordinated by AHS Medical Affairs and the CMIO portfolio working with Zone Clinical Department Heads. Super Users will be assigned by site and specialty area to ensure the best possible coverage at launch.

Time commitments typically include: Connect Care training (12 hours –  7 hours of classroom and 5 hours virtual), Super User training (12 hours – 7 hours of classroom and 5 hours virtual); classroom support (15 hours); launch support (75 hours) and post-launch support (20 hours).

We are keen to identify clinicians who could benefit Connect Care while growing their own CIS agency as Super Users. Physicians working in both fee for service and contractual relationships, including the AMHSP, are encouraged to apply.


Seeking Connect Care Physician Area Trainers

We have previously posted about Connect Care Provincial Physician Trainers (PPTs) and Connect Care Area Physician Trainers (APTs). APTs focus on the needs of clinical specialties and facilities, working under the guidance of PPTs. They are critical to Connect Care success and we are recruiting in earnest!

Connect Care promotes physicians training physicians. APTs are physicians drawn from representative clinical areas who help teach clinical information system (CIS) use to their peers. They are drawn to pragmatic teaching. They help colleagues attain CIS competency and proficiency, and are themselves supported by the CMIO Provincial Training team. Their reach is provincial. The curriculum they design is adapted to clinical area and facility needs.

APTs work with zone medical leadership and co-report to Associate Chief Medical Information Officers (ACMIOs). They are expected to contribute approximately 160 hours to this role over a 6-month period, including receiving training (64 hours), delivering training (60 hours) and providing launch support (36 hours).

The AHS CMIO portfolio works with AHS Zones to recruit the right number and diversity of APTs for successful launch. We are keen to identify clinicians who could benefit Connect Care while growing with the APT opportunity. Physicians working in both fee for service and contractual relationships, including the AMHSP, are encouraged to apply.


Connect Care March 29 2019 Newsletter Posted

The March 29, 2019, Connect Care Newsletter is available via the link below; covering 1) Preparing for Wave 2, 2) Working with patients and families, and 3) MyHealth Record Launch.


Virtual Care Uncloaking in Canada

We recently alerted blog readers to the public release of MyHealth Records, a personal health record service available to all Albertans. This could ease patient access to some health information (e.g., vaccination records, selected laboratory tests) while also improving individuals' ability to gather and organize health history information.

In another recent release, we learn of Telus Health's introduction of Babylon Health to the Canadian public (the UK has a few years experience with Babylon).

The initial Telus offering includes a "chatbot" that patients can interact with to learn more about their symptoms. In addition, patients in British Columbia can book one-on-one video consultations with physicians who have signed up (and bill for) virtual visits.

It will be interesting to see how this unfolds. Health advocacy and regulatory bodies have concerns. Physicians may want to sign up and get a sense of the offering and possible professional impacts.

Connect Care is committed to support virtual health care services. However, these are envisioned as a seamless extension of health encounters supported by fully integrated health information services. Communications, documentation, planning, coordination and team interactions are all part of the same informational ecosystem. Alberta's HealthLink is tightly coupled with Connect Care and co-evolves to support a growing range virtual healthcare services.

For more information:


MyHealth Records Public Release Today

Today Alberta Health completes the public launch of MyHealth Records (MHR, a.k.a. Personal Health Record or PHR; MyHealth.Alberta.ca). MHR offers an online personal portfolio where Albertans can enter and manage their own health information. The content can be shared with health care teams through printed summaries or personal device displays.

The first phase of MHR focuses on information gathered from and managed by individuals. There are tools for recording health measurements, health histories and wellness goals. Some extracts from the Netcare electronic health record are shared, including some community-dispensed medications, recent vaccinations and selected laboratory test results.

Growing use of MHR may affect how Albertans relate to health information and to their healthcare team. All clinicians are encouraged to learn about the MHR offering. Indeed, the best way to do this is to sign up for personal access.

Clinicians can visit the MyHealth Records webpage (myhealth.alberta.ca/mhr-provider) to learn more, and send questions or comments to myhealthrecords@gov.ab.ca.


Considering the Impact of Connect Care on Daily Operational Activities

As we move towards our first launch of the Connect Care clinical information system, it is time to shift our focus towards change management and readiness planning. The Change Impact Work Package is an early step in this planning. Through this work package, Specialty Working groups will review decisions they made to determine if the decisions will have an effect on our day-to-day operational activities.
To facilitate this process, each working group will be provided with a list of all of their Specialty CSD decisions, and Area Council Coordinators will prepare meetings and ensure that impacts are entered into the decision tracker. As groups go through this process, they will not be re-visiting decisions that have been made. Instead, they will use this opportunity to understand the operational impacts so we can better help our colleagues prepare for this transformation.
In addition to Specialty Working Groups, other areas will follow this same process. This includes Area Councils (where they are working as Specialty Working Groups), Complex Areas, Content and Standards Committees and more. Once complete the Change Impacts Task Force will review this work so that it can be included in readiness events, pre-classroom training and future chapters of the Readiness Playbook.
Medical Informatics Leads and other physicians on Area Councils and Specialty Working Groups serve as an essential bridge between the Connect Care initiative and clinical communities, and provide critical leadership in understanding the operational impacts of the design decisions.  We appreciate your support in helping us think through how the system design, general documentation, decision and inquiry supports may affect your colleagues at launch. Thank you again for your continued support of this initiative.
For more information, we have prepared one page overviews of the Change Impact Work Package and the Change Impact Task Force:
If you have any additional questions about this work, please email Linda Kuijten at Linda.Kuijten@albertahealthservices.ca.


Connect Care March 2019 Calendar

A summary of key Connect Care happenings in March 2019 has been posted to the Alberta Health Services (AHS) internal Connect Care website, linked below.

This is an intense month for our information technology colleagues, as plans and preparations are firmed up for deployment of medical and non-medical devices. Development of logon processes and bring your own device frameworks mature.


Connect Care March 1 2019 Newsletter Posted

The March 1, 2019, Connect Care Newsletter is available via the link below; covering the day-in-the-life poster  series and Epic’s recent Top of Klas award winnings.