2020-08-07

Connect Care Scheduled Downtime - Thursday August 13, 2020, 00:30-04:30 AM

The Connect Care production environment (PRD) needs periodic maintenance. The next scheduled update will occur Thursday August 13, 2020 in the early morning hours of (between midnight 00:30 and 04:30).  Hyperspace will be affected as well as Rover and the patient and provider portals.

There will be no change in functions post-update.

While PRD is offline, access to "PRDSRO" will also not be available for this downtime. Please use North BCA Web to access patient information. In addition, Netcare remains available.

Any paper ordering or charting will be uploaded by support staff once the downtime finishes. Physicians will want to validate this work. Charting deficiency notifications may appear later in In-Basket but can be addressed with the SmartPhrase ".DOWNTIME".

Additional instruction remains available in the Connect Care Physician Manual:

2020-08-06

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. 

2020-07-29

Transfusion Information System Scheduled Downtime - July 30, 2020 0045-0130

On July 30, 2020 from 00:45-01:30 downtime procedures will apply to any transfusion related activities requested through Connect Care.

During this time, no test order or product/derivative messages will be received by WellSky (Transfusion Information System) from the Connect Care clinical information system; and no messages will be received by the CIS from WellSky. This affects blood product administration workflows. Messages will be held and processed once the WellSky interface is back up.

WellSky and Connect Care users should follow downtime procedures for all transfusion-related activities in the scheduled interval; including blood product ordering and transfusion related documentation.

For more information, please contact Dr. Susan Nahirniak, Edmonton Zone Transfusion Medicine Service at susan.nahirniak@albertaprecisionlabs.ca or through the University of Alberta Hospital switchboard.

2020-07-28

Save the Date(s)... Clinical Inquiry Clinics

A big thanks to Connect Care clinicians who answered a recent Clinical Inquiry Survey by submitting diverse use cases where reporting, visualization and dashboard tools could serve clinical improvement.

Supplementing expanded Reporting Training opportunities, we start an ongoing series of Connect Care "Inquiry Clinics" next month.

Weekly noon-hour sessions will be repeated to accommodate clinician schedules. Each session starts with a user need or use case. Current in-system tools will be used to address the inquiry need. Participants are then invited to apply learnings to their own practice or group. Physician Manual supplements and tip sheets support experiential learning.

Anyone interested in helping with the clinics, or submitting new cases, can get in touch with cmio@ahs.ca.

2020-07-27

Time to Learn more about Connect Care Inquiry Supports

Connect Care is, at its core, about inquiry, investigation and improvement. We participate in inquiry when asking questions about what we do, perform investigation when using systematic approaches to answering questions, and promote improvement when iteratively applying answers to doing better.

The clinical information system (CIS) offers diverse tools for clinicians, quality advocates and researchers. These help understand how the CIS is used and how health processes and outcomes change for CIS stakeholders.

Now more than 6 months post launch, the data supporting Connect Care reports has improved in both quality and quantity. The time is right to learn about inquiry support tools; better yet, to tool-up for clinical improvement!

Weekly reporting training eLearning courses are available for the next many months. These offer a great way for clinicians and managers to learning about inquiry support and to gain proficiency using tools for improvement.

2020-07-26

Connect Care Clinical Inquiry Newsletter - July 2020

The Connect Care Clinical Inquiry Newsletter offers a quick way to catch up on the latest progress with inquiry, research and analytics supports in the clinical information system.

Check out the July 2020 edition, emphasizing new functions for researchers and annual expert meeting developments.

2020-07-25

Using Connect Care Inclusively

We've previously posted about how the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS) is designed to support inclusive and respectful care for all Albertans.

To support Connect Care users in providing culturally competent care and services, a new eLearning has been developed, Epic - GEN120 Documenting Gender, Sex, and Sexual Orientation, for all users (existing and new) who work with or talk about patients/clients. The eLearning is available for self-registration by users in MyLearningLink (MLL). This eLearning is is highly recommended for all users, expressing our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

2020-07-16

Patient Movement Bootcamp - Lunch Hour Sessions for Connect Care Users

Patient Movement Bootcamp is a series of 4 lunchtime up-skilling sessions intended to review patient movement functionality and reinforce optimal workflows. The sessions are for current Connect Care users whose role involves admissions, transfers, discharges and surgical and critical care transitions. This includes physicians, nurses, unit clerks, bed planners, transporters, patient registration staff, quality management and others.

Dr. Alan Sobey, Physician Design Lead with the CMIO, contributes to the Interfacility Transfers session on Wednesday.

Session Details

Offered virtually (Skype for Business), as well as in person (with appropriate social distancing; limited seats available in Bernard Snell Hall). Participants are encouraged attend all sessions, as each new topic builds on the previous presentation.

Monday July 20 12:00-13:00 - Foundations and Workflow Review

  • Understanding and using ADT orders
  • Unit Manager – Advanced functionality and workflow review
  • Transfer patient to new unit. – workflow review
  • Accessing patient information and avoiding chart locking
  • Patient movement guide

Tuesday July 21 12:00-13:00  - All Things Transporters 

  • Requesting Transport
  • Understanding transporter events
  • Transport to and from the OR
  • Future queue and missed requests

Wednesday July 22 12:00-13:00 – Interfacility Transfers

  • Encounters review
  • Leave of Absence (LOA) – Review
  • Interfacility transfer vs. Leave Of Absence
  • Sending to Continuing Care
  • IFT for procedure and back (IFT with LOA)
  • Physician navigators and Medication Reconciliations

Thursday July 23 12:00-13:00 - Event Management and Troubleshooting 

  • Introduction to Event Management
  • Reading The encounter events report
  • Using Event Management to troubleshoot patient movement
  • Using Reporting tools to dig deeper into patient movement issues
To register, email kent.tetz@ahs.ca

Referrals Evolution – Lunch Sessions

The Connect Care Patient Access team is offering 3 noon hour sessions about clinical referral workflows and how these are facilitated by clinical information system (CIS) tools. Although of interest to all practitioners, clinicians and support staff responsible for referral management (referral, triage, scheduling, fulfillment and follow-up) can benefit from tips about efficient and effective referral workflows.

To join one or more sessions, use the registration link(s) below (opens a calendar invitation).

July 21, 2020, 1200-1300 – Referrals Overview

  • New to referrals or simply want a review? This session will outline the steps in CIS-facilitated referral management.

July 22, 2020, 1200-1300 – Referrals Tips and Tricks

  • Pointers to using referral tools to best advantage.  

July 23, 2020; 1200-1300 – Referrals Q&A

  • Specific referral questions? Please sign-up and submit your question(s) in advance by email to Patient Access (see below).
More information:

2020-07-15

Connect Care Scheduled Pause - July 15, 2020, 2200

Connect Care will experience a brief pause during the evening of July 15, 2020 at approximately 22:00 for a few minutes. This will allow a scheduled security update to complete.

All active sessions will be temporarily suspended. The pause is expected to last 2 minutes. Users may continue with their work afterwards. Should patient information need to be accessed during the pause, please use BCA Web North.

More information:

2020-07-13

Connect Care Post-Launch Survey – let your voice be heard

The second Connect Care post-launch survey for Wave 1 sites will be available July 13 to August 7. The survey takes no more than 10 minutes to complete (there are 17 questions, mostly asking you rate the degree to which you agree with a statement), and will ask you to measure how Connect Care has influenced your daily work and your ability to provide patient care. By completing the survey, you will help us to identify possible inefficiencies, work arounds, and key pain points for staff working in Connect Care. While we do ask you to identify a location where you work, this is so that leaders can address concerns that are specific to an area. Your individual responses are kept confidential.

Your responses are compiled, and the aggregate information is shared with site leadership, project sponsors, and others who support Connect Care implementation. The results of this survey will be compared with the results to the previous survey, making it possible to measure how Connect Care adoption and usage is evolving, and providing information to help guide ongoing support.

Your survey response is crucial for the Connect Care project team so we can support your best experience working in Connect Care, and so we can take what you have learned to future waves.

The survey will be live in Connect Care beginning July 13 and will be available until August 7.

You can also access the survey by clicking HERE.

2020-07-02

AHS CMIO Portfolio Leadership

A big welcome to Dr. Stuart Rosser who assumes leadership of the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) portfolio this month!

From Dr. Francois Belanger, AHS Chief Medical Officer:


The CMIO plays a key part in the AHS senior leadership team. Reporting directly to the Vice President Quality & Chief Medical Officer of AHS and forming a triad with the Chief Information Officer (CIO), and the Senior Program Officer – Connect Care, the CMIO co-leads the development of a steady-state clinical IT and informatics strategy, as well as represent and communicate project and operational issues to clinical business leaders and clinicians within AHS, all while promoting clinical improvement and innovation. The CMIO directs and oversees engagement of physician communities in the five AHS zones, building awareness and opportunities for meaningful physician CIS adoption.

Dr. Rosser graduated from the University of Alberta, Faculty of Medicine in 1988 and then completed his Masters of Public Health through the Harvard School of Public Health in 1999. From 1999 – 2006, he undertook several leadership roles with University of Manitoba’s HIV Program and in its Divisions of Infectious Diseases and Critical Care. He returned to Edmonton in 2006, where he is currently an Associate Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine and Division of Infectious Diseases at the University of Alberta. He has an active clinical practice at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, where he was also Site Chief, Medicine, from 2014-2018.

Since 2017, Dr. Rosser has served as a Physician Design Lead with the Connect Care Project, bringing a wealth of experience and knowledge to this role. His familiarity with Connect Care design, build, and implementation will provide context and continuity for this transition period.



Rob Hayward returns to his clinical, teaching and innovation roles at the University of Alberta Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, but with significant ongoing contributions to the Connect Care initiative as a Master Clinical Builder and as Medical Director Clinical System Design. He will also continue these blogging channels and support for the Connect Care Manual and eHealth Glossary.

CMIO general queries continue to be received at cmio@ahs.ca and messages about blogs and manuals to cmio-manual@ahs.ca

2020-07-01

Getting the Supervising Provider Right

Trainees (medical students and residents) select a "Supervising Prescriber" when logging on to Connect Care, as previously posted. We've updated a previous FAQ about why this is important and what Connect Care activities are impacted. A tip and demo shows how Supervising Providers can be quickly changed, if needed, when switching between patients.

We continue to encounter situations where trainees do not select the correct Supervising Provider. Most of the time this does not have much impact in the inpatient context. However, it determines who is called for critical test results and, understandably, physicians do not want to be called about patients they do not cover.

A simple test when entering orders, especially for tests, is consideration of which attending (staff) physician would need to be called for support in case of difficulty... for that patient at that time.

The supervising physician is NOT the resident training program director, a more senior trainee, or some other physician not directly accountable for the clinical care that the trainee is providing at the time an order is entered.

There are many new trainees using Connect Care starting today. Please check the links above and take care when selecting a Supervising Prescriber at logon.

2020-06-30

Provider Teams Live!

An earlier all-user bulletin described improvements to Provider Teams functionality scheduled for cutover the evening of June 30, 2020.

The upgrade is complete and Provider Teams live as of 20:00. All inpatients are moved from the old "Provider Groups" to the matching "Provider Teams/Treatment Team". Selection of the designation Provider team for all admissions, consults and transfers is now part of relevant orders or order sets.

Please refer to the Manual and Tips for more information.

Countdown Checklist W2 L-115: Bookmark Physician Resources

Continuing a list of essential actions for Wave 2 physicians readying for Connect Care Launch Oct 24, 2020...
  • Bookmark Connect Care Physician Resources 
While this blogging site (blogs.connect-care.ca), its various channels (see buttons above), and the Connect Care Physician Manual (manual.connect-care.ca) remain the prime Connect Care information sources for physicians, valuable local information is available through other CMIO and zone resources.

Worth bookmarking:

2020-06-29

Welcome new Trainees!

Connect Care continues its implementation, wave by wave, until the clinical information system (CIS) is province-wide 2 years from now. But not all newcomers on-board at wave launches. There is a steady stream of newly appointed physicians, elective trainees and rotating trainees, with July 1 bringing a wave of new residents to Connect Care.

This year, we are pleased to welcome incoming residents to a stabilized CIS rich with order sets and other clinical content ready to personalize.

Getting to know a new CIS can be challenging. Lean on experienced peers, picking up on content they share to speed the path to proficiency.

Connect Care provides other ways to share. Most important are the update (blogging) channels at blogs.connect-care.ca and the physician manual manual.connect-care.ca. All are mobile-friendly.

Some parts of the Blogs and Manual are useful for tapping into Connect Care street-smarts:
  • Tippies - a stream within the Tips channel, these list simple time-saving tricks.
  • Countdown Checklist - now cued to the Oct 24 launch, this thread has a lot of practical guidance
  • FAQs - user questions and answers for common newcomer issues.
  • Support - solutions and work-arounds for common problems.
  • Manual - Connect Care Physician Manual (focus on the Personalization section)
  • Resources - full listing of Connect Care resources for physicians.

2020-06-28

Connect Care All-in-One

We've celebrated how Connect Care makes it easier to understand our patients' experience with health problems. But many may not appreciate how Connect Care also eases access to information about how to manage health problems.

There are a variety of ways to use clinical references, guidelines, websites and tools embedded in Connect Care:
  • Resource Links - A top toolbar button called "Resource Links" lists a number of immediately useful clinical resources, including:
    • AHS Clinical Guidance 
    • AHS COVID-19 
    • Point-of-Care Clinical Decision Supports :
      • Dynamed - clinical handbook with evidence-based summaries about management of clinical conditions
      • Lippincott Advisor - nursing & allied health clinical guidance and patient education
      • Lippincott Procedures - instructions about a wide range of bedside procedures, including patient education handouts.
      • Bugs and Drugs - evidence-based antimicrobial guidance
      • Lexicomp - drug prescribing guidance and patient handouts
      • Micromedex - detailed information about pharmaceutical agents and therapies, including POISINDEX and other toxicology information.
      • AHS Emerging Pathogens - sensitivity and resistance surveillance.
      • APL and Dynalife Laboratory Test Directories - information about available tests and sample collection requirements.
      • General and Clinical calculator collections - wide range of conversion, formulae, and other clinical assists.
    • AHS Knowledge Resource Service 
    • AHS Insite 
  • Dashboards - available as the "Dashboards" activity (tab) in Hyperspace
    • Learning Home Dashboards - often include links to clinically useful resources
    • Specialty Dashboards - are curated by Connect Care Area Councils and increasingly provide access to online resources of particular interest to clinical programs.
Some point-of-care resources are additionally "deep-linked" within ordering and documentation workflows, facilitating just-in-time access to relevant drug information, clinical guidance or patient handouts.



2020-06-27

All-Prescriber Bulletin: Provider Teams and Patient Lists

All-user-bulletins highlight developments that all physicians need to be aware of when using the Connect Care clinical information system.

Provider Teams - Simplified Patient List Management
On the evening of Tuesday, June 30, 2020, an enhanced "Provider Teams" function will be appear in Connect Care. This adds flexibility, simplicity and power to the creation and management of facility patient lists.

Previously, care teams (e.g., inpatient ward and consult services) would need to manually add patients to "Provider Group" lists, which could help track inpatients that a particular team might be accountable for.

The new "Provider Teams" will activate automatically on July 1, with the prior "Provider Group" listings transferred over. Of course, it is wise to confirm that nothing was missed in the cutover.

Going forward, all admitting, transfer and consultation workflows include assignment of patients to the correct inpatient and consulting teams. This is part of the ordering process and is mandatory. Thereafter, clinicians can further adjust Provider Team panels as needed. It's easily done using the care teams activity within a chart (click on the provider name in any chart Storyboard) or by right-clicking on a patient name in any patient list and using "Assign Teams" or "Remove Teams" popup menu options.

Impacts on Connect Care users? Prescribers and trainees will need to select a responsible Provider Team when admitting, consulting or transferring patients. In addition, some admission Order Set personalizations may need to be adjusted.

2020-06-26

Connect Care Off-Boarding

Prescribers may change or leave a clinical practice. Typical reasons include a move to a different jurisdiction with a different record of care, promotion, retirement or death. Indeed, many trainees transition to new roles and locations at this time of year.

For those leaving the Connect Care clinical record, off-boarding protocols must be followed. Clinical privileges are handled through Zone Medical Affairs Intake. In addition, specific Connect Care off-boarding tasks require prescriber attention. These include ensuring that In-Basket is assigned to a responsible provider or group, that Provider Team relationships are updated, the Phone Book (provider registry) is corrected and that Secure Chat settings are updated.

A new tip sheet covers the basics:

2020-06-25

Improved Support for Workers' Compensation Board Billing

Services performed as part of Workers’ Compensation Board (WCB) assessments can be submitted with Connect Care professional billing tools. However, the claim will not be satisfied unless the provider completes a form containing all information required by WCB.

Starting July 1, 2020, Connect Care is enhanced to ease compliance with WCB reporting requirements, both within scheduled WCB visits and for other visits where WCB assessments arise. Although any prescriber can use the new tools, only those who bill through Connect Care can expect that the claim and report will be submitted to WCB (and tracked) for them.

2020-06-24

Design for Inclusion

Alberta Health Services promotes toleration, inclusivity and respect throughout a patient-focused health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans. Early in the Connect Care experience, we committed to protecting sexual and gender identity by addressing patients by their affirmed (preferred) name... and we expressed this with affirmed names in all user interfaces (e.g., Patient Storyboard, Chart Review Snapshot, etc.).

Post-launch, we discovered some Smart Tools (e.g., SmartLinks found in some SmartPhrases) defaulting to legal rather than affirmed name. Work is underway to close this gap. SmartTool stakeholders are encouraged to participate:

2020-06-23

Virtual Care - Telephone Encounters

Although telephone calls with patients are commonplace, they increasingly support virtual care.  Telephone-facilitated assessment, follow-up, education and care planning is familiar to patients and easily supported with existing infrastructure.

A telephone encounter is suitable when in-person interaction is not required, video is not needed, and the patient’s hearing, speaking and cognition are adequate. A few tips can help clinicians help patients get the most out of telephone encounters:

2020-06-22

Countdown Checklist W2 L-120: Physician Registries #1

Continuing a list of essential actions for Wave 2 physicians readying for Connect Care Launch Oct 24, 2020...
  • Physician Registries Check #1 - ARD 
Alberta has multiple sources of physician information. Connect Care uses these inform a single physician registry. This is a good time for Wave 2 physicians to ensure that provincial databases have current and correct information.

The Alberta Referral Directory (ARD) is one such database. It is a secure, online listing that provides access to consultant demographics, referral guidelines and referral forms.

All physicians are encouraged to update their ARD entry, or have clinic staff take care of this for all clinic providers. ARD is incorporated into Connect Care referral workflows.

2020-06-21

Connect Care Clinical Inquiry Supports - SlicerDicer Use Cases

We participate in clinical inquiry when we ask questions about what we do; and facilitate improvement when we use answers to do better.

Connect Care is, at its core, about inquiry. The vision is to better healthcare with better information. The clinical information system (CIS) supports this with tools enabling clinical data exploration, practice surveillance, hypothesis generation and continuing clinical improvement.

Now over 6 months after the first Connect Care launch, the time has come to expand use of Connect Care's inquiry-support tools. One tool is "SlicerDicer". This allows clinicians to interact with clinical data visualizations while asking and tweaking clinical questions. Examples include:

    Which patients have been exposed to a medication subject to a Health Canada alert?
    Which patients continue to follow assigned care paths?
    Which patients with a particular chronic illness have specific laboratory test results?
    Which patients are following recommended health maintenance guidelines?

We hope all physicians will be able to work with tools like SlicerDicer, including an ability to find and work with patients meeting specific search criteria. Please help us describe the importance of such functionality by offering your own use cases:

2020-06-20

Connect Care Communication Norms Evolve

We've previously posted about Communication Norms, which express what Connect Care users expect of one another for efficient, safe and respectful information sharing within groups. Feedback and suggestions continue, with adjustments reflecting new learnings.

Connect Care's many communication tools can be a boon to teams, especially in the face of pandemic physical distancing. But the same tools can also prove frustrating, even unsafe, when used inappropriately or inconsistently. Unfortunately, there is no one definition for "appropriate". Some teams, for example, use secure messaging to great advantage, while other teams struggle and risk missed communications.

The single most important "norm" is for teams to be aware of the clinical information tools provided, and to jointly commit to a "communications pact". This spells out mutual expectations respecting the use of paging, telephone, secure messaging, In-Basket and other tools.

2020-06-19

Connect Care Summative Documents to Netcare... Ensuring Success

We've previously posted about an expanded range of summative clinical documents flowing from Connect Care to the Netcare electronic health record. Later, we clarified the eligible document types. Now that a required upgrade has successfully completed, Netcare is able to accept summative documentation generated by Connect Care for sharing.

There is a slight workflow change that Connect Care physicians need to be aware of for outpatient consult and procedure communications.

When generating an outpatient communication -- such as a letter to the referring physician or a report about an outpatient procedure -- the selected "template" determines whether the report will go to Netcare or not. There are new template options. If the communication is appropriate for sharing to Netcare, be sure to pick a template that includes "Netcare" in its name.

2020-06-18

Connect Care Wave 2 Countdown!

Our countdown timer has re-appeared (see top of left column, just above the Search box) again!

After some COVID-19 distractions, the Connect Care launch schedule has resumed, with the Wave 2 launch date set for early hours of the morning of Saturday October 24, 2020. This will bring the following sites into the Connect Care fold:
  • Devon General Hospital
  • Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital
  • Leduc Community Hospital
  • Gibbons Health unit, Redwater Health Centre, Morinville Clinic (labs only, no physicians)
  • Westview Health Centre
  • Sturgeon Community Hospital
  • Strathcona Community Hospital
  • North East Community Health Centre (except Family Practice Clinic)
We are approaching 100 days from the Wave 2 launch.

Having learned how important it is to avoid a last minute rush, our Countdown Checklist (checklist.connect-care.ca) also resumes. This allows physicians to pace tasks and ensure that requirements are met as they progress from registration through training, proficiency, personalization and launch-readiness.

2020-06-17

Countdown Checklist W2 L-125: Are you in?

Starting a list of essential actions for Wave 2 physicians readying for Connect Care Launch Oct 24, 2020...
  • Are you in Connect Care Wave 2? 
An obvious first checklist task is to determine whether Wave 2 tasks even apply!

For most physicians, that determination is made by Medical Affairs. Lists of clinic physicians, those with hospital privileges, visiting specialists and on-call contributors are used to generate invitations to Wave 2 physicians.

Despite this, it is possible that some physicians with new site responsibilities -- and some physicians who have already trained in Wave 1 -- might be missed. Physicians should check the clinics and hospitals slated for Wave 2 launch and be sure that they have been invited to participate if they expect to work at those sites, including:
  • Devon General Hospital
  • Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital
  • Leduc Community Hospital
  • Gibbons Health unit, Redwater Health Centre, Morinville Clinic (labs only, no physicians)
  • Westview Health Centre
  • Sturgeon Community Hospital
  • Strathcona Community Hospital
  • North East Community Health Centre (except Family Practice Clinic)
Other online resources can be checked for the latest information:

2020-06-16

Netcare Scheduled Downtime - June 18 2020, 20:30-0300

The Alberta Netcare Portal electronic health record will be taken offline for scheduled maintenance during the evening of Thursday June 18:
  • June 18, 2020, 21:30 PM - Friday June 19, 2020, 03:00 AM
Downtime information is available:
Laboratory and other test results and reports will continue to be available in Connect Care. However, the Connect Care Netcare tab will not work during these time periods.

2020-06-15

Connect Care Clinical Content Continuing Improvement

As other pre-pandemic activities resume across Alberta Health Services, Connect Care wave implementation activities also resume.  Connect Care Area Councils and their Specialty Working Groups and Support Units are re-engaging by reviewing requests for clinical content improvements, including decision, documentation and inquiry supports. A "Continuing Improvement Prioritization" work package offers a structured approach to defining, categorizing, prioritizing and allocating ongoing Clinical System Design (CSD) tasks.

Connect Care users generate improvement requests and have a keen interest in how they are handled. We'll provide high-level updates in this blog, with more detail for clinical informaticians and clinical system design participants in their respective channels:

2020-06-14

Post COVID Pulmonary Clinic Referrals

Current Connect Care users (wave 1) can refer recovering patients with COVID-19 respiratory symptoms to a new specialty clinic service.

A post-COVID Pulmonary Outpatient Clinic focuses on the detection and treatment of respiratory complications for patients hospitalized or treated in the community for COVID-related syndromes. The service is available for all physicians who would normally refer to or within the AHS Edmonton Zone and patients need to be able to travel to Kaye Edmonton Clinic or use AHS virtual health services.
  • Outpatient Connect Care Referral: 
    • Service - Pulmonary
    • Provider - Drs. Giovanni Ferrara or Ronald Damant
    • Reason - "COVID Follow-up" or "post-COVID Specialist Evaluation"

2020-06-13

Connect Care Resumes Implementations

A Message from Dr. Francois Belanger & Sean Chilton: 

June 9, 2020

Dear staff, physicians and volunteers,

Along with re-launching other pre-pandemic activities across AHS, we are now re-launching Connect Care planning and implementation work for our next waves.

Waves 2 and 3 of Connect Care were temporarily delayed in March, given the significantly increased demands on our frontline physicians, staff and services, and the increased health risks our patients and healthcare teams faced due to COVID-19. While our response to COVID-19 continues, we are ready to resume the preparations for the upcoming waves. Those preparations were well underway before we paused this work.

Connect Care remains one of our highest organizational priorities. The delay of Connect Care allowed us to be strategic and align with the requirements of the public health measures and the demands on our staff and physicians for preparing and having the ability to respond to COVID-19.
As the pandemic demands increased, Wave 1 sites and programs were able to use Connect Care to support COVID-19 care. Connect Care was adapted to meet the needs of patients, staff and medical staff, including expanding our virtual care options, such as telephone and video visits for patients and families, adding travel screening and COVID-19 diagnosis areas to patient charts, and adapting a variety of other elements to support the COVID-19 response.

As we look to re-launch across Alberta, we know that the pandemic is not over and that we will need to maintain our ability to remain ready for COVID-19 patients in the foreseeable future. We have carefully assessed the situation and have adjusted our wave rollout plan and sequencing, based on the impact of COVID-19. Work also continued behind the scenes over the past months to lay the groundwork and put systems in place for new waves of Connect Care. Like so much of our work that has changed as a result of the pandemic, Connect Care’s re-launch will also include adaptations to how we prepare for the next waves – training and implementation will be modified from the models we used in Wave 1. The launch dates for waves 2, 3, and 4 are as follows:
  • Wave 2: Launch date - Saturday, October 24, 2020
  • Wave 3: Launch date - Saturday, February 27, 2021
  • Wave 4: Launch date - Saturday, June 5, 2021
Details about which sites and programs are included in these launches can be found on the wave scope and sequencing diagram.

As we move forward with the plans for these waves, and Wave 2 in particular, we are taking into consideration that COVID-19 will continue to have some impact on our health system and that we will need to be adaptable in accordance with the COVID-19 viral activity and utilization of AHS facilities.  We will continue to assess the impacts of COVID-19 and other factors that may impact our re-launch strategy throughout the coming months, so we can adapt as necessary.

Starting this week, you will see activities to prepare for Connect Care increasing in Wave 2, 3 and 4 sites, including work on the physical infrastructure, data collection, training and other work to get us ready for these Connect Care launches.

We look forward to getting Connect Care in place across Alberta. Learning new systems and work flows can be challenging, and we want you to know you will be supported throughout the process. We have learned much from our launch of Wave 1 and the experiences of our staff and physicians who paved the way. As we embark on these next waves, it is good to remember our long-term goals for Connect Care:

  • House all AHS, partner and affiliate medical records to support care wherever Connect Care is in place
  • Provide common decision-making tools and resources for clinicians, to ensure all our physicians and frontline staff have access to the same clinical standards and best healthcare practices
  • Allow all patients across Alberta to have access to their health information through the patient portal, MyAHS Connect
  • Implement more consistent and standardized clinical and business processes
  • Reduce the number of information systems which support clinical care

Ultimately, Connect Care means that the whole AHS healthcare team, including patients, will have the best possible information throughout their care journey.

Thank you for your ongoing support as we put this system in place to provide better healthcare to Albertans.

Dr. Francois Belanger
VP Quality and Chief Medical Officer

Sean Chilton
VP Health Professions and Practice and Information Technology