AHS Comes of Age

We've oft commented that Connect Care is both a formative and consolidating innovation for Alberta Health Services (AHS). The initiative is possible because the organization has matured as a values-driven healthcare organization. Moreover, the initiative enables continuing transformation as a learning healthcare organization.

A recent publication nicely tallies the many AHS developments that make Connect Care possible and use Connect Care to make the AHS vision possible:


Connect Care Provincial Physician Trainer Opportunity

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is seeking up to 17 Connect Care Provincial Physician Trainers. These clinicians become key members of the office of the Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO), aiding in the development, support and delivery of a Clinical Information System (CIS) training program for physicians and advanced care providers. The Connect Care initiative will up-skill thousands of CIS users over 3 years of implementations throughout Alberta.  The immediate need is for physician-friendly curriculum development under a clinicians-training-clinicians model.

The Provincial Physician Trainer is an AHS medical leadership position that plans, guides and manages CIS training for all physician and advanced care users in multiple AHS zones, programs, facilities and workflows. In collaboration with the Connect Care learning team, Trainers work closely with Clinical and Operations leaders to define, plan, implement and evaluate curricula that suit different roles and learning styles; while promoting smooth change management and minimal service disruption.

There are multiple Provincial Physician Trainers, each focusing on one or more of the following areas:

  • Inpatient Admitting (including General Internal Medicine; Critical Care; Medicine Subspecialties; Hospitalists; Family Medicine)
  • Surgery (including General Surgery and Surgical subspecialties)
  • Rural Medicine
  • Ambulatory
  • Gastroenterology
  • Pathology
  • Anesthesia
  • Medical Learners
  • Pediatrics
  • Cardiology
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Psychiatry
  • Emergency
  • Oncology
  • Radiology
  • Physician Support Roles (e.g. Physician Assistants)

The Provincial Physician Trainer will be an Alberta physician who advocates effectively for AHS strategic information management initiatives, anticipates impacts on stakeholders, identifies issues and helps resolve problems. Experience with adult learning methods is strongly desired.

Applications are welcomed immediately. The posting will renew until all trainers are appointed. To learn more, please visit:


Connect Care September 7 Newsletter Posted

The September 7, 2018, Connect Care Newsletter is available via the link below; covering why we care about Connect Care (#1 Information Access), data conversion plans and assessing non-medical devices.


Understanding Connect Care Conversations

As design of the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS) progresses, more and more of us are drawn into conversations about Connect Care tools and how to use these purposefully. Many new terms, acronyms and abbreviations arise.

An "eHealth Glossary" can help.

Canada Health Infoway, a number of Universities, the Centre for Health Evidence and Alberta Health Services have collaborated to maintain a glossary of health informatics terms. This continues to grow, with emphasis on the applications and tools we now encounter in Connect Care.


User Group Meeting 2018 #1 - A great community

The annual Epic User Group Meeting (UGM) is a truly impressive gathering! Over 8,000 converge on the Epic campus at Verona, Wisconsin, for 5 days of meetings, councils, presentations, testing and updates. With Alberta Health Services formally announced as a new enterprise community member, a number of our leaders took time to learn during a most exciting and informative week. Some first impressions are summarized in the next series of blogs, with apologies for not properly attributing.

An immediate UGM impression is that one has joined a large, capable and collaborative user community. It spans multiple continents and includes all types of health care organizations. Most clients are driven by goals akin to our Connect Care intent. More importantly, Epic community members are eager to help peers succeed. The AHS UGM presence emphasized connecting with peers, networking, and firming up a support group that includes some of the best health care organizations in the world.

Epic facilitated many meetings around the scheduled program. Short consultations with like-minded Epic clients focused on recent installs or build challenges. Frank conversations opened channels for ongoing conversation and mutual assistance. It was clear that we have a lot to gain from sharing.

We also gained confidence. AHS has undertaken a large and exceptionally complex challenge. Our difficulties are not extraordinary. Our strengths are exemplary. Many complemented us on our preparatory work to discover and reduce unhelpful variation, to unify a large health region and to guide a clinical information system initiative with transformative purpose.


Connect Care August 24 Newsletter Posted

The August 24, 2018, Connect Care Newsletter is available via the link below; covering clinical benefits, Adoption & Validation 2 experiences, and learning new terms used in Connect Care conversations.

Mandatory Breach Reporting

From Dr. Francois Belanger:

On August 31, 2018, Mandatory Breach reporting will come into effect in Alberta. The new provincial requirements mean Alberta Health Services and all other health custodians must report any privacy breaches to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC), the Minister of Health and any affected patient(s).

AHS, through the Information & Privacy Office, has always reported significant breaches to the OIPC. The new requirements serve to remind all of us to continue to report any privacy breaches we may encounter.

To report a breach, you must either fill out the Notification of Privacy Breach Form or e-mail the Information & Privacy Office at privacy@ahs.ca.  The Information & Privacy Office will investigate the incident and will report the breach to the OIPC and Minister of Health. Any individuals affected by the breach will also be notified.

AHS recently implemented a new Privacy Policy that encourages a culture of shared accountability. The policy includes expected behaviours and additional supports to assist all of us in protecting health information and the systems that store it. I encourage everyone to review the new policy and discuss it with your co-workers. 

Just as Albertans trust us with their care, they also trust us with their private health information. Protecting privacy enhances the overall trust in our organization and results in better healthcare and employee engagement.

Information sharing is needed to provide excellence in healthcare but accessing the health or personal information of our friends, co-workers, and other people not in our care is never appropriate.

Please visit the provided links for more information on reporting breaches or the Information & Privacy office.

Thank you for your continued diligence in keeping health information safe.


Adoption & Validation 2 Moves us Further

I again want to personally thank the clinician community for making time out of busy schedules to attend the Connect Care Adoption and Validation sessions this week in Edmonton... and all the colleagues, patients, and families for helping these clinicians be available to share invaluable contributions.

The formal sessions continue to move us forward, helping to guide our build teams as the AHS Connect Care CIS takes shape. It is gratifying to witness how the discussions reflect growing knowledge, strong understanding of our intent, and a firm sense of implementation proximity.

Many groups, including Area Councils, Specialty Workgroups and Committees took opportunity of co-location to tackle complex issues. I personally witnessed and appreciated a number of productive clinical system design workshops. More and more clinical content (documentation, decision and inquiry support) is lined up for build.

We brought together physician leads at various times during the week and on the last day enjoyed a first gathering of all CMIO, ACMIO, design lead, medical informatics lead, directors and support staff in one place at one time! Great energy. Great contributions. We grappled with the complexities of clinical system design and strategies for getting essential clinical content in place by early 2019. We were also pleased to introduce a number of proficiency-development pathways, including both the new clinician builder program and power user program. With profuse thanks to Bart and the IT team, we were thrilled to be able to show a "PLY" environment that medical leads can use to start experiencing, demonstrating and promoting the emerging Connect Care CIS. 

The third and final Adoption and Validation session will take place in Calgary at the BMO Centre, September 25 to 27, 2018. We will soon share more information. 

AHS is most grateful for clinician interest in and support for this transformative project. Please share any feedback or suggestions with your zone ACMIO:

               • Dr. Tim Graham - cmio.ez@ahs.ca (Edmonton Zone)
               • Dr Tom Rich – cmio.caz@ahs.ca (Calgary Zone)
               • Dr. Steven Turner cmio.cez@ahs.ca (Central Zone)
               • Dr. Hendrik van der Watt - cmio.nz@ahs.ca (North Zone)
               • Dr. Aaron Low - cmio.sz@ahs.ca (South Zone)


Dr. Rob Hayward, Chief Medical Information Officer


Connect Care August 10 Newsletter Posted

The August 10, 2018, Connect Care Newsletter is available via the link below; covering Adoption & Validation 2 preparations, infrastructure progress and selection of an Enterprise Content Manager partner.


Enterprise Content Services Partner Selected

Managing all the attachments that relate to patient records across the continuum of care is a huge job for Alberta Health Services (AHS). Epic Systems software, a key component of the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS) will do most of the leg work. Additionally, the CIS needs software to help manage the many non-Epic document sources that matter to a fully integrated health record.

An Enterprise Content Services (ECS) solution helps manage chart objects; and information about the objects (like keywords or creation dates). Once Connect Care goes live, the ECS solution will facilitate tasks like document scanning, categorizing and linking to the right part of a health record. The ECS solution will also consolidate information from multiple document management systems and so optimize workflow, access, management, storage and availability of all the artefacts that can arise during the patient’s health journey across the continuum of care.

AHS has now completed an ECS RFP process, selecting Quanum™ Enterprise Content Solutions (formerly known as ChartMaxx), from Quest Diagnostics™. Quest has extensive experience with Epic Systems, and is a 10-time ‘Best in KLAS’ leader in Document Management and Imaging.

This new ECS application will join the CIS fold and support the Connect Care commitment to “one person, one record, one system”. It will implement alongside other key CIS deliverables.