Clinical Inquiry Newsletter - August 2020

We've previously posted about how Connect Care in-system inquiry tools can help AHS grow as a learning healthcare organization.

The Connect Care Clinical Inquiry Newsletter offers an excellent way for those interested to keep updated about developing capabilities, supports and processes related to clinical inquiry, with the August Issue including the following topics:
  • Research Staff Courses
  • Research Overview Webinars
  • Finding information about Connect Care reporting content
  • Research Support Update
  • Wave 2 Launch Dashboards
  • Connect Care Reporting Training
The Newsletter releases monthly. For those interested in the same content via shorter but more frequent communications, subscribe the Clinical Inquiry Blog


North Zone Associate Chief Medical Information Officer Transition

Recently, we learned that Dr. Hendrik (Herc) van der Watt will be leaving the role of Associate Chief Medical Information Officer (ACMIO) for the Alberta Health Services (AHS) North Zone. Herc joined the CMIO portfolio in 2018 and has played a vital role preparing his Zone for Connect Care. He has proved a strong and effective advocate for Connect Care provincially, serving Engagement & Adoption, Clinical System Design, ER/EMS Area Council (co-chair) and many other groups. Herc is appreciated for his clear guidance, open communication style, and tireless problem-solving; all essential to our success. We want to thank Herc for his dedication, and wish he and his family good fortune in their upcoming  move.

We are pleased to announce that, as of September 30, 2020, Dr. Marc Shaw will assume the role of Interim Associate Chief Medical Information Officer (ACMIO) for Alberta Health Services (AHS) North Zone. Marc has contributed extensively to the Connect Care program, serving as a Provincial Physician Trainer, Physician Master Builder, Area Trainer, Medical Informatics Lead and Super User. He provided valuable on-site support for the Wave 1 launch and is well positioned to guide future launches. In addition, Marc is completing a Health Informatics training program through Ryerson University (Toronto).

Marc earned his MD at the University of Ottawa and completed his General Surgery Residency at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Marc has practiced in Grande Prairie since 2006, with a special interest in oncoplastic breast cancer surgery. Marc is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta, and was awarded a Certificate of Teaching Excellence from Family Medicine Residents.  Marc enjoys racing cars, hiking, and rowing. We look forward to his continued leadership in the North Zone in this new role.


Handling (Rare) Dual Provider Records in Connect Care

Connect Care users may notice that some prescribers (physicians, nurse practitioners, etc.) listed in the clinical information system phone book (and associated look-ups) more than once. Users need to take care when choosing a provider record to match the provider to the correct care context.

Some health care providers care for patients in more than one province; most commonly affecting Connect Care when physicians perform clinical duties in both Alberta (AB) and the Northwest Territories (NT). The non-Alberta role is indicated by a two-letter provincial abbreviation in parentheses.

For more detail:


Connect Care Wave 2 Training Registration... NOW

Registration is now open for CMIO Connect Care training (physicians, nurse practitioners, etc.) participating in the Wave 2 launch October 24, 2020.

Email notifications have gone out from Edmonton Zone Medical Affairs to all affected physicians. Separate notifications have gone out from Advanced Practice Nursing. Prescribers are invited to register for training with instructions about how to do this through MyLearningLink (mylearninglink.ahs.ca).

Prescriber training is offered in three modes:
  1. In-classroom training (COVID prevention precautions in place)
  2. Virtual training (via Zoom)
  3. Online training through independent learning modules
The best mix of learning modes will be determined for each trainee, partly reflecting the skills required to use Connect Care for a specific practice context.  Super Users will fan out to assist with training while building relationships with the user groups they will support at launch.

Already, 41% of physicians have registered for Basic Training and 26% for Personalization Training.

Prescribers who expect but have not received a training invitation should contact:


More on AHS Email Migration to Office 365

The following information, from Dr Francois Belanger (AHS Chief Medical Officer) adds detail to our earlier announcement:

The current Exchange 2007 system used for AHS email and calendar is no longer supported by Microsoft. As a result, all AHS accounts need to be upgraded to the new Microsoft Office 365 system by the end of August 2020.

During the week of August 24, AHS will update physician email infrastructure to Microsoft Office 365 services. Among other benefits, the update to these new services will offer more security protections. The change will impact how physicians access AHS email when using personal devices (e.g., office computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone).

Some physicians may have already received a notice sent to their AHS email account about this upgrade. Any included dates will be revised to fit with those listed here.

This update will affect AHS, Covenant Health and Alberta Precision Laboratory email accounts.

How does this change impact how you access your AHS email?

1.    Webmail: Physicians will have access to their AHS email and calendar through an enhanced Outlook Web Portal. Once you are migrated, the new webmail is accessed using a full AHS email (firstname.lastname@ahs.ca as userid) and password at outlook.office.com.

2.    AHS devices: Email accessed using Outlook on AHS computers will convert automatically. Apart from shutting down Outlook on the cutover night, no other changes are required. 

3.    Personal devices: AHS is introducing a "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) software solution for physicians. This is to help balance usability with supports to protect security and privacy of health data. Effective August 31, 2020, AHS email and calendar via Outlook will only be accessible on personal devices that are enrolled into the BYOD program (see Accessing AHS Email & Intranet webpage).


Support and resources
For additional information, please see the following:
·         Frequently asked questions
·         BYOD iOS enrolment guide
·         BYOD Android enrolment guide

For questions or concerns about the upcoming change, please contact the Messaging Upgrade team at: AHS.MessagingUpgrade@ahs.ca.

For technical issues after the upgrade, please contact the IT Service Desk at 1-877-311-4300 or open a support ticket here.


Francois Belanger
Vice President, Quality, and Chief Medical Officer
Alberta Health Services


AHS Secure Email Upgrade Coming for Physicians

Alberta Health Services (AHS) will soon complete an upgrade of its email infrastructure for physicians, offering better security for AHS and for end users. The change to Microsoft Office 365 will impact how physicians access AHS secure email. After a physician account is migrated:
  • Microsoft Outlook will be the only email client (software application) that can be used for management of AHS email on personal devices (smart phone, tablet, laptop, desktop computers).
  • Use of Microsoft Outlook on personal devices requires installation of a "Workspace ONE (WSO)" software application which creates a protected space where Outlook can work.
  • AHS email will otherwise be accessible through an enhanced web interface (WSO not required) on personal devices, or through Outlook on AHS-managed workstations.  
The same WSO "Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)" software will ease access to most AHS-hosted applications used by physicians, including clinical information systems.

For more information:  
For questions or feedback about the upcoming change, please contact the AHS Messaging Upgrade team at: AHS.MessagingUpgrade@albertahealthservices.ca.

For technical support after the upgrade, please contact the IT Service Desk at 1-877-311-4300 or open a support ticket (sign in with your AHS username and password).


Worth following... iThoughts.

Improving Health Outcomes Together (or "IHOT") is an exciting initiative within the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Quality Health Improvement portfolio.

A new iTHOUGHTS blog (https://ahsqualitytalks.blogspot.com or http://ahs-cis.ca/ithoughts) seeks to recognize, support and spread the innovation and quality improvement excellence that is happening throughout AHS and beyond. The blog provides a space to reflect, connect, and inspire excellence in quality improvement.

One can subscribe to receive email alerts to new postings.

Check it out! ahsqualitytalks.blogspot.com


Improvements to Lab Requisition Management

Connect Care "transition" states can frustrate clinicians. A Zone is in transition when some health information is handled within Connect Care and other functions remain on paper, or within other systems.

Two big transitional challenges relate to 1) prescriptions entered in Connect Care but and dispensed under another system (e.g., community pharmacy without e-prescribing), and 2) laboratory tests ordered in Connect Care but performed in another system (e.g., community lab not yet integrated with provincial lab services). Until Connect Care fully deploys, clinicians may struggle with hybrid workflows involving printers and paper.

Recent enhancements improve hybrid laboratory workflows, especially the efficiency of printed requisitions and the ease of creating reprints when needed. 

Now clinicians can reprint multiple laboratory test requests on a single page (akin to the old paper lab requisitions) when the test is to be performed outside Connect Care facilities. Should a new requisition be required, clinicians can generate these as needed via the "Labs" tab of chart review.


Consent Navigator Updates

The Connect Care clinical information system supports procurement and documentation of a wide range of patient consents.

The "Consent Navigator" continues to benefit from enhancements, recently:
  • Improved supports for correcting errors or invalid documents, including ones already signed.
  • Processes for scanning and importing paper consents from elsewhere.
  • Consent Note type to support documentation where signatures are not required.
All enhancements are described, with step-by-step instructions, in an updated guide:


Important Change Coming to AHS Secure Email

Alberta Health Services (AHS) will finish updating its communications infrastructure to adopt the latest Microsoft Office 365 technology on August 17, 2020. The upgrade offers better security protections, both for email users and for AHS. However, the change will also impact how physicians access and use AHS secure email, particularly on personal devices (e.g., office computer, laptop, tablet, smartphone).

Please anticipate communications from Medical Affairs during the week of August 12, 2020. These will provide technical details and instructions about how to facilitate a smooth a changeover. We'll highlight key messages, as they become available, in this blog.