Referral Management in Connect Care

Effective referral management is key to safe and efficient patient care. Alberta Health Services (AHS), and the Connect Care initiative, continue work to optimize referral processes.

Connect Care introduces standardized ordering, triaging and communicating in support of "closed loop management", in compliance with College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA) practice standards and AHS QuRE referral guides. Using the correct Connect Care workflow ensures that consults and referrals are identified, tracked and completed in a timely manner.  

As always, if an issue is time-sensitive, there is no substitute for direct provider-to-provider communication. This supplements, but cannot replace, placing the requisite Connect Care referral (outpatient) or consult (inpatient) order. Bypassing Connect Care orders by means of hallway conversations, In Basket messages or chart copies does not meet CPSA requirements, can inconvenience colleagues, and risks referral loss. 

Clinicians who receive consult requests through informal channels should remind the requesting provider that the desired consult or referral must be entered in Connect Care. The onus rests with the requesting – not the accepting – physician. A simple system SmartPhrase (".REFERRALROUTING") can be used to generate instructive reminders in the body of an In Basket message response.


CMIO Optimization Support for Connect Care Users

With over 4,500 professionals having completed Chief Medical Information Office (CMIO) training for Connect Care, the CMIO has developed a four-tier optimization training strategy to foster continuous learning for those in Waves 1, 2 and 3. 

All Connect Care users who fall under the scope of CMIO training will be able to access optimization support via their local leadership. Users can combine facets of optimization from any tier, in any order, to best address their unique needs. 

In Tiers 1 and 3, users can drive their own learning through the available resources and modules; in Tiers 2 and 4, Medical Informatics Leads, Super Users, and Zone Clinical Department Heads will help champion this learning for their colleagues and staff.

For more information, see the Optimization Training page in the Connect Care Manual.


Non-Medical Device Assessments: What Prescribers Need to Know

Non-Medical Devices (NMDs) are computing and related devices that enable interaction with Connect Care. These include computer workstations, printers, document scanners, e-signature pads and track boards, among other things. 

AHS provisions and supports NMDs in clinical areas in order to match peak staff and workflow needs. To better estimate site-specific needs, NMD Assessments are completed prior to each Connect Care launch. The assessments are collaborative, facilitated by visiting teams working with site managers and prescribers. AHS NMD standards help set expectations for the quantity, types and locations of devices that can be deployed to sites. Information about NMDs and the NMD Standards can be found on Insite

Prescriber participation in NMD Assessments is important for ensuring that device type and location support physician workflows. For example, a printer placed in the wrong location can add significant burden to a physician’s workflow if inconvenient for retrieving printed prescriptions or outpatient laboratory test requisitions. 

Prescribers are encouraged to attend the first 30 minutes of NMD Assessment sessions at their sites. North Zone Wave 7 NMD Assessments begin May 17, 2021 and run until October 1, 2021. Dates will be emailed to site Medical Leadership directly. If you have questions about NMD Assessments in your Zone, please contact your Zone's CMIO supports:


COVID-19 and Connect Care - Inpatient Vaccination Orders

Alberta Health Services (AHS) and Covenant Health support COVID-19 immunization of eligible acute care patients who anticipate a long hospital stay, are unable to access community immunization programs and wish to be immunized while in hospital. 

Connect Care offers an integrated workflow for ordering inpatient vaccination, documenting compliance with requirements, documenting vaccine administration, updating a patient’s vaccination history and communicating key information to provincial programs. Components supporting this workflow go into production Monday May 17, 2021. 

Affected clinicians should check new tip and Manual content:


COVID-19 and Connect Care - Guidance for VITT

We have previously posted about testing for Vaccine-induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT). As experience grows, guidance for clinicians is firmed up.
Connect Care prescribers should remain alert to patient presentations that might indicate emerging or established VITT 4 to 28 days post-immunization:
  • a persistent and severe headache
  • focal neurological symptoms or visual changes, including blurred or double vision, or episodes suspicious for seizure
  • shortness of breath
  • abdominal or chest pain
  • swelling, pain and/or redness in a limb
  • pallor and coldness in a limb
  • unusual bleeding, multiple small bruises, reddish or purplish spots or blood blisters under the skin
The most important Connect Care action is to place an urgent order for a hematology consult (inpatient) or referral (outpatient) together with direct personal contact with a hematologist on call (RAAPID) who will guide initial investigations.


Connect Care Mobility Apps Need Device Operating System Updates

Most of us keep our mobile devices (smartphones, tablets, watches) in sync with the latest operating system updates. Among other things, this ensures that important security patches are in place to protect the device from intrusion. While Connect Care mobility applications (Haiku, Canto, Limerick) have robust app security, it is important that they work with safe operating systems.

A Connect Care mobility update is anticipated May 13, 2021. The fresh instances of Canto (for iPads), Limerick (for Apple Watches) and the iOS (Apple) version of Haiku will require recent versions of iOS/iPadOS (13.0 or later) and watchOS (version 6.0 or later). Those who keep up with updates have no worries, as the current version of iOS is 14.5 and watchOS is 7.4.

We recommend taking this opportunity to check the update status of any mobile device used for Haiku, Canto or Limerick.  Perform any possible updates before May 13.

There are some older devices that cannot support iOS/iPadOS 13 or later and so will not work with Connect Care mobility apps.