All User Bulletin - Ordering Audiology Consults

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

Ordering Audiology Consults

As of Tuesday, December 1, 2020 at noon, specialty audiology exams that were previously available to be searched for and ordered by physicians will only be orderable by Audiology prescribers, who can best select a specific intervention appropriate to the clinical need.  
Going forward, physicians seeking specific audiology procedures should place an “Inpatient Consult to Audiology” order for inpatients or "Ambulatory Referral to Audiology" for outpatients. If a specific intervention is wanted, this can be added to the comments section of the consult/referral order. An Audiologist will then place the required procedure order(s) and make appropriate arrangements for assessment.

Entering "hearing" or "audiology" as term in the Order Search will bring up the consult or referral order options. 


All User Bulletin - Consulting for Interventional Neuroradiology Procedures

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

Consulting for Interventional Neuroradiology Procedures

A number of interventional neuroradiology procedures that were previously directly orderable by any prescriber are now ordered specifically by responsible radiologists. The appropriate ordering pathway is to request an interventional radiology referral or consultation. The diagnostic imaging team then confirms the best approach to address the clinical need while taking care of both orders and scheduling.  

Going forward, physicians seeking interventional neuroradiology exams should place a “Consult to Interventional Radiology” order for inpatients or an “Ambulatory Referral to Interventional Radiology” order for outpatients. This includes therapeutic stroke interventions and the following procedures:

  • IR Aneurysm Coiling 
  • IR Carotid Balloon Test Occlusion
  • IR Intracranial AVM Embolization
  • IR Head Neck Embolization
  • IR Spinal AVM Embolization
  • IR Intracranial Tumor Embolization
  • IR Spinal Tumor Embolization
  • IR Extracranial Stent Placement w Angioplasty
  • IR Intracranial Angioplasty
  • IR Intracranial Clot Retrieval
  • IR Epistaxis Embolization
  • IR Kyphoplasty One Level
  • IR Kyphoplasty Two or More Levels
  • IR Vertebroplasty
  • IR Vessel Occlusion Permanent
  • IR Nerve Root Ablation
The above orders are now treated as synonyms for IR Consult/Referral, which is the suggested order that will appear when searching.

As with all time-sensitive referrals and consultations, it is important to phone interventional radiology at the intended site to share details about the case, the clinical need and urgency considerations.


Practical Paranoia - Pandemic Phishing on the Rise

Hospitals are prime targets for cyberattacks and this is especially true during COVID-19. The consequences not only disrupt patient care but can be lethal. 

Hackers use phishing emails to trick healthcare workers into downloading ransomware, a type of malicious software that attacks computer systems when an infected link or attachment is opened. The ransomware logs out users and shuts off access to critical information until a "ransom" is paid by the organization.
Some recent examples:
  • Outpatient appointments were postponed in Quebec due to a recent cyberattack targeting health board members.
  • A recent ransomware attack in Germany meant that a patient had to be rerouted to a hospital 20 km farther away, delaying care and likely contributing to her death. 
  • An early morning cyberattack at Universal Health Services’ US facilities disabled multiple antivirus programs, logged off users and shut down system access. Affected hospitals had to redirect ambulances and relocate patients in need of surgery to other nearby hospitals. Universal Health Services operates in both the US and UK and is similar in size to AHS with more than 400 facilities and more than 90,000 employees providing healthcare services to about 3.5 million patients annually. 
You can help stop these attacks. 
  • Take note of AHS’ external email warning message. 
  • Don’t open unsolicited email attachments or click on links. 
  • Always report suspicious emails using the "Report Phishing" button on Outlook or forward to stop.spam@ahs.ca, then delete.
Learn more about some of the common tricks cybercriminals use to access your information by viewing Don’t be fooled by Scammers and visit InfoCare on AHS Insite for information on all privacy and information security matters.


Connect Care Kudos

From our Chief Medical Officer...

Connect Care Kudos

Following the roll out of Wave 2 on October 23, there have been many messages of thanks to the teams. We’d like to share a few to recognize the teams and tremendous work that went into a successful implementation of Wave 2 Connect Care.
Thank You Wave 2 Users: To the new Wave 2 Connect Care users, ​we want to thank you for all that you have done for this successful rollout of Wave 2. As part of this launch, you and your colleagues helped us achieve a 4/5 rating from Epic on the Wave 2 implementation. Under normal conditions this would be an extremely great achievement, never mind doing it under the current circumstances. Keep up the good work. ~ ​The AHS Board
Kudos to UAH Dialysis: I was a super user for Wave 1, and I must congratulate all individuals on the dialysis unit at UAH that were involved with the implementation of Wave 2. Staff are functioning at a week three level; they are very confident in opening the chart of the outpatients on dialysis, they calmly navigate through the record when looking for patient information.
Lessons learned and recommendation from Wave 1 have been implemented. The patients were well aware of the changes that were occurring; it's obvious the changes were shared with them. Physicians were present to support the staff. The therapy plans are complete, it is evident the success is due to a lot of hard work from all staff involved. I have been very impressed with the calm atmosphere: a real collaborative atmosphere!
Congratulations and Thank You: A huge congratulations and thank you to all the staff who have worked so hard on preparing for the Wave 2 launch! The use of Connect Care will positively impact your clinical practice for years to come. The preparation efforts that you have all made while responding to the pandemic at the same time are so incredibly impressive. Thank you!


Netcare Scheduled Downtime - Thursday November 19, 2020, 21:00-03:00 Friday November 20, 2020

The Alberta Netcare Portal electronic health record will be taken offline for scheduled maintenance during the evening of Thursday November 19, 2020:

  • Thursday November 19, 21:00 - 03:00 Friday November 20
Netcare will be unavailable during the noted period, in order to accommodate system maintenance and upgrades. Users who are logged in during this time will be disconnected and will need to re-authenticate following each outage period.

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.


Timing and Sequence of Upcoming Connect Care Waves

A message from Dr. Verna Yiu and Dr. Laura McDougall:

With the successful launch of Connect Care’s second wave on October 24, we are starting to look ahead to our next launches. We know each launch of Connect Care involves thousands of people and hours of preparation. We want to acknowledge the efforts you are making to make Connect Care a reality in your waves, zones and sites, especially with the added pressures of COVID-19.  

Wave 3 will launch on February 27, 2021, at 5 a.m. Teams are heavily involved in training and preparation for that launch, which will take place at 38 locations, including acute and combined acute/long-term care sites across the Calgary and North zones, and urgent care sites in Calgary Zone. This wave also includes related pharmacy and diagnostic imaging services, and Alberta Precision Labs (North Zone sites only) associated with these programs and services. The details of which sites are launching in Wave 3 can be found here

Recently, the Connect Care Executive Committee approved the launch timing for Waves 4 and 5, as follows:

  • Wave 4 will launch Saturday, June 5, 2021, at 5 a.m. in Calgary and Edmonton Zones, including:
    • the Alberta Children’s Hospital, Peter Lougheed Hospital, Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Lois Hole Hospital for Women, Royal Alexandra Hospital and many Addiction and Mental Health programs and services in the Edmonton Zone. 
    • It incorporates related clinical support programs, including pharmacy, diagnostic imaging services, Alberta Precision Labs associated with these programs and services (Edmonton Zone sites only, plus genetics labs at Alberta Children’s Hospital), Health Information Management, Nutrition and Food Services, and other support areas.  

  • Wave 5 will launch Sunday, November 7, 2021, at 4 a.m. in various locations in all five zones. Major sites include:
    • the Foothills Medical Centre, Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre, acute and combined acute/long-term care sites in Central Zone, the Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury in Ponoka, Sylvan Lake Advanced Ambulatory Care Centre, Cancer Care, Screen Test and Alberta Kidney Care (Central, Calgary and South zones). 
    • It also incorporates all of the related clinical support programs, including pharmacy, diagnostic imaging services, and Alberta Precision Labs (Central Zone sites only) associated with some of these programs and services, Health Information Management, Nutrition and Food Services, and other programs.

Connect Care remains one of AHS’ highest priorities. It will give patients and their healthcare team a more complete picture of their health history, improved access to consistent information on best practices, and other resources at their fingertips. It will facilitate communication between patients and their healthcare providers, and among members of the healthcare team. 

Connect Care is being introduced to all AHS programs, facilities and many AHS partners in phases, which started in 2019 and will continue through 2023. The full implementation timelines and sequencing are available, here


Wave 2 Stabilizing

The Connect Care Wave 2 launch continues to stabilize after a remarkably smooth and collaborative transition. Most problems have been resolved and a few ongoing issues are explored by teams working to better match a few workflows to clinical information system capabilities.

As the comfort and experience of users increases, twice daily physician huddles have been reduced to twice weekly. Rapid-response clinical system design and other task groups remain active, but switching from daily to ad hoc meetings as required. Accordingly, our Support Update postings retire and we resume communications in all blogging channels for prescribers in all Waves. 

Renewed thanks to all Wave 2 teams for their incredible work and resourcefulness through the launch period!


Results and Reports Routing - Updated Information

Prescribers (including physicians, medical trainees, nurse practitioners, clinical assistants and other health care professionals) order laboratory tests, imaging and other diagnostic interventions in the course of health care. Results or reports related to these interventions are returned to the prescriber for consideration. 

The recent Wave 2 launch has added many prescribers who serve where Connect Care is the record of care as well as where Connect Care is not the record of care. Some new resources can help address questions about results routing in these mixed contexts:


Netcare - eDelivery Adjustments

Connect Care's Wave 2 launch has onboarded a number of physicians who manage "hybrid" health record experiences. Some work (e.g., inpatient or emergency) is at sites where the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS) is the record of care and other work (e.g., office visits) is at locations where an electronic medical record is used.

Results and report delivery considerations can be complex during transitional periods. All routable test results and reports for work at a Connect Care venue deliver to In Basket. If the physician has requested eDelivery to their external Electronic Medical Record (EMR), there may be duplicative results routing. There are strategies to manage this, which we will re-post in the coming days.

In addition to laboratory test results and diagnostic imaging reports, providers may receive eDelivery of "summative" reports relating to their patients. These include admission histories, inpatient consults, operative reports, discharge summaries, labour & delivery reports, deceased reports and emergency room reports. 

Some providers have also received eDelivered inpatient progress notes that they authored for their patients in Connect Care. The automated eDelivery of non-summative documentation has been halted. As of November 4, 2020, only summative inpatient Connect Care documentation is eDelivered to external EMRs.


Netcare Scheduled Downtime - Thursday November 05, 2020, 21:00-03:00 Friday November 06, 2020

The Alberta Netcare Portal electronic health record will be taken offline for scheduled maintenance during the evening of Thursday November 5, 2020:

  • Thursday November 5, 21:00 - 03:00 Friday November 6
Netcare will be unavailable for up to two 45-minute durations during the noted period, in order to accommodate system maintenance and upgrades. Users who are logged in during this time will be disconnected and will need to re-authenticate following each outage period.

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.


Happy Birthday Connect Care!

A year ago today, we were biting nails in anticipation of Connect Care's first launch at Wave 1 sites. 

So much has happened since! Most importantly, the Connect Care community has continued to grow in numbers and capacity. These strengths have enabled a successful Wave 2 launch and, no doubt, many launches to come!


Tickets, Tickets, Tickets!

The Wave 2 launch has gone well, credit to the clinicians, leaders, trainers, Super Users, and many others who have worked hard to prepare.

Launch success is less about absence of problems and more about rapid problem resolution. In this, Wave 2 has done extraordinarily well. Most issues are sorted quickly and many fixes ease the way for new services joining the Connect Care community.

What's left are a few tricky problems. These are context-dependent. When an expected print job fails, for example, the fault can be device-specific or, sometimes, the intersect of device, department, function and location.

Cleaning up tricky problems is a group effort. Our technical specialists need users to:

  • Not ignore problems, even those that seem minor. Report by one means or another (if too busy to submit a helpdesk ticket, jot down the particulars in a secure message or In Basket note to a Super User).
  • Reported problems get "ticketed", which means that they are tracked down and resolved as fast as possible. 
  • When reporting printer problems, always include the relevant order number.
  • Support: Finding Order Numbers
  • Manual: Better Requests and Reports
  • Helpdesk: help.connect-care.ca


Thanks for a great Wave 2 start!

A message of thanks from our Connect Care Triad:

Barb Kathol, Senior Program Officer, Connect Care; Penny Rae, Chief Information Officer; Stuart Rosser, Interim Chief Medical Information Officer

All Prescriber Bulletin - Tap Out

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

Tap out or log off!

A number of computer workstations are enabled for Tap-n-Go logons in high-flow settings. This is a great convenience because prescribers can sign on to a workstation and get to Connect Care quickly by tapping an enabled ID card. 

Problems arise when prescribers do not "tap out" upon leaving the workstation. Even if Connect Care is logged out, this can leave Windows open to the prescriber's session and expose that session to misuse by others. Tapping in somewhere else does not tap out the prior workstation.

Most users do not notice this challenge because workstations in other clinical settings are often configured such that users only log on to Connect Care, with the Windows session automatically taken care of. 

Universal best practice: If you log on to Windows (keyboard, tap card, biometrics, or any other method) with a personal account, be sure to log off before leaving the device. 

Virtual Drop-in Centre Hours

With the first full week of Connect Care at the Wave 2 sites coming to a close, launch support via the Virtual Drop-in Centre (virtualhelp.connect-care.ca) will be scaled back to daytime hours. 

As of Saturday, October 31, 2020, the Virtual Drop-in Centre will be open 07:00-23:00. If you require support outside these hours, please call the IT Service Desk & Solution Centre at 1-877-311-4300 (#1 for Connect Care) or visit help.connect-care.ca. 

For further information about Site and Virtual Drop-in Centre schedules, visit launchhelp.connect-care.ca. Also listed there are reminders about getting after-hours CMIO help for prescribers via Super Users, CMIO leader on call and help-cmio@ahs.ca.


All User Bulletin - Fall Back (Nov 1 at 02:00)

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

Daylight Savings Time Ends 🕑 Fall Back
On November 1, 2020, clocks turn back 1 hour at 02:00 to become 01:00 when Daylight Savings Time (DST) ends.

While ambulatory care is little affected by what happens in the early hours of the morning on a weekend, emergent, inpatient, surgical and critical care can be sensitive to the loss or gain of time. 

Falling back poses unique challenges. For example, whether a change in blood glucose occurs over an hour, or a minute, can affect insulin protocols. With a clinical information system in play, time distortions impact medication administration records, clinical decision supports, and other digital details, especially if interfaced devices handle DST differently. 

Accordingly, a safe approach to the end of DST is to schedule a downtime. This will start at 01:50 in the early morning of Sunday, November 1, 2020. The downtime will end at approximately 03:00. Be sure to sign off all Hyperspace and Mobility sessions prior to 01:50 on November 1, 2020.

The DST downtime takes the place of the scheduled downtime that would have otherwise occurred on November 12.

PRDSRO and BCA Web North services, as well as Netcare, are expected to be available during the outage. Netcare, however, will not have results normally received from Connect Care. SRO is the best way to check for the latest results.

The Physician Manual lists key considerations:


All Prescriber Bulletin - Test Patients in PRD

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

Keep Play in the Sandbox!

Demonstration patients are provided in the Production (PRD) environment to facilitate prescriber personalizations pre-launch. It is very important to limit use of these charts.

Never sign an order, communication or other action when working with a test patient. Strictly limit use to prepping order or documentation favourites or preferences. All system personalizations can be done without the use of test charts.

If practice with signing workflows is needed, do so in the PLY (play sandbox) environment.

MyAHS Connect (Patient Portal) Virtual Office Hours - November

We've previously posted about why this is the right time to promote Connect Care's patient portal, MyAHS Connect.

Although it is possible for physicians to initiate the patient activation process, it is bests for team members to collaborate taking advantage of every clinic or ER visit and every hospitalization. 

Clinics and wards working to improve patient participation in care can take advantage of virtual office hours focusing on portal activation processes:

Resources are available to help with clinic and team preparations, with current topics:
  • Activation workflows
  • Staff and provider roles in activation
  • Patient tasks and responsibilities
  • Proxy access processes


Reminder: Personalization Power

Personalization is important for successful CIS adoption. Many groups benefit from having a few members create and share more advanced personalizations. Multiple pathways to proficiency are available:

Personalization Guides and Tips

The personalization section of the Clinician Manual gives a quick overview of key personalization tasks, opportunities and links. A number of enhancements are made to the Personalization Tips subsection to provide layered and specialty-aware advice about how to grow personalization skills.

Personalization Independent Learning

An online self-directed course, available via MyLearningLink (search for courses using "CMIO Personalization" keyword), covers a number of high-value personalizations for prescribers.

Power Personalization Workshops

A series of workshops are offered to help Connect Care prescribers leverage the power of personalization. Anyone is welcome. The focus will be on some of the more advanced adjustments that can dramatically speed up workflows. 

Personalization workshops are offered through the CMIO Virtual Drop-in Centre, repeated four times in the coming week:

  • October 27, 2020, 17:00-19:00 
  • October 29, 2020, 17:00-19:00 
  • November 3, 2020, 17:00-19:00 
  • November 5, 2020, 17:00-19:00 

Getting More From Your Dragon

"If you want to conquer the world, you best have dragons."
George R.R. Martin, A Dance with Dragons, Game of Thrones

Looking to be slicker and faster (and happier!) with "Dragon Medical One" (DMO)?

Connect Care's in-system dictation solution consistently proves to be a physician's best friend. Dragon users can document with ease and automate repetitive workflows.

All Connect Care prescribers (current and previous waves) are encouraged to benefit from a DMO optimization session. These go beyond the basics, teaching how to do more with custom commands, hotkey shortcuts and dictation-triggered SmartText. 

All DMO optimization sessions are delivered via Zoom. This makes sessions easy to attend, and multiple time slots are available to choose from. Registration is requested, as group sizes are limited for a better learning experience. To register:
  • Visit My Learning Link (MLL)
  • Search for courses using “DMO Optimization” keyword
  • Select a session from among the available dates and times
    • Location: Zoom
    • Duration: 1 hour
    • Dates: November 3, 4, 5, 10, 10, 12
    • Times: 0700-0800, 1200-1300, 1700-1800


Improving Issue Reports

Problem reports (help.connect-care.ca) have been minimal so far with Wave 2 launch... certainly much less than our Wave 1 experience. Of course, more tickets are expected as clinical volumes ramp up Monday. The good news is that tickets are resolved quickly, with critical tickets resolved within minutes to hours.

Helpdesk tickets route most efficiently when the user provides clear information at the right level of detail. See our tips for impactful issue reports:


Smooth Wave 2 Launch

A huge thanks to all who worked so well together to achieve an exceptionally smooth cutover from legacy systems (and paper!) to Connect Care at Wave 2 sites yesterday. Emergency, medical, surgical and obstetrical care have ramped up in the new system.

Launch occurred on time with clinical work progressing well at all Wave 2 sites. Indeed, ambulance diversions are ending.

Physician "huddles" occur twice a day. Any significant issues are rapidly characterized, assigned and sorted. Physicians can track this problem-solving through daily postings in the Support channel (support.connect-care.ca).  

All in all, a great launch!


Connect Care Wave 2 Launch - Support Hot Topics

New daily postings in the Support channel (support.connect-care.ca) flag high-priority needs raised in physicians huddles, usually with links to helpful solutions. 

A day's post can be updated many times as new needs emerge. Super Users and other prescriber supporters may want to subscribe to receive Support postings via email.

Also note that new "Tippies" appear daily in the Tips channel (tips.connect-care.ca).

Wave 2: We are GO!

All interfaces and all other dependencies have cleared. We've launched on time at 0500!

Onward to better health, powered by information!

Today we welcome many colleagues to the Connect Care community, including Sturgeon Community Hospital, Fort Saskatchewan Hospital, Devon General Hospital, Leduc Community Hospital, Northeast Community Health Centre, Strathcona Community Hospital, Westview Health Centre, Gibbons Health Unit, Morinville Clinic Building, Redwater Health Centre, University of Alberta Hospital Dialysis, Plaza 124 Building, Seventh Street Plaza.

A welcome from our CEO:

Physicians, please make use of the drop-in centre and other launch supports (launchhelp.connect-care.ca). We have pulled in extra resources to deal with any access or role problems.


Introducing Wave 2

The Connect Care community is thrilled to welcome Wave 2 colleagues, who have excelled at getting ready for launch in the early hours of Saturday morning. Some facts to introduce the Wave 2 cohort...

Wave 2 launches at suburban sites in the Edmonton Zone:

  • Sturgeon Community Hospital
  • Fort Saskatchewan Hospital
  • Devon General Hospital
  • Leduc Community Hospital
  • Northeast Community Health Centre
  • Strathcona Community Hospital
  • Westview Health Centre

Other locations will have some partial launches:

  • Plaza 124 Building
  • Seventh Street Plaza
  • University of Alberta dialysis 

There are 4,875 staff and over 1,100 prescribers (physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and dentists):

  • 1,066 physicians
  • 33 nurse practitioners
  • 2 nurse practitioner students
  • 15 clinical assistants
  • 3 physician assistants

Other Wave 2 providers include:

  • 456 inpatient nurses
  • 319 rural nurses
  • 35 pharmacists
  • 75 respiratory therapists  
  • 23 midwives

With Waves 1 and 2 combined, there will be 27,000 staff and prescribers using Connect Care.

Countdown Checklist W2 L-00: Drop In

Continuing a list of essential actions for Wave 2 physicians readying for Connect Care Launch Oct 24, 2020...
  • Drop In
This ends our countdown checklist. We hope all goes well at 0400! Of course that's only the start. We'll have a working system but we'll need to grow it, and grow with it, to fulfill its potential.
Informatics specialists, Super Users and physician informatics leads are eager to help. Reach out.


Prescriber Drop-In Centres Now Open - Virtual and On-Site

The Connect Care Wave 2 prescriber drop-in centres are now open! 

These centres are good for troubleshooting issues related to mobility, personal device, dictation, personalization and workflows, as well as login, role and access problems. 

More information on the drop-in centres and their hours can be found at launchhelp.connect-care.ca.

Extra Personalization Support

Personalization is important for successful CIS adoption. Many groups benefit from having a few members create and share more advanced personalizations. 

Connect Care Physician Builders offer focused support for prescriber personalization questions through the Virtual Drop-in Centre during the following times:

  • October 27, 2020, 17:00-19:00 
  • October 29, 2020, 17:00-19:00 
  • November 3, 2020, 17:00-19:00 
  • November 5, 2020, 17:00-19:00 

On Other Channels...

Thank you for continuing to check (... ideally, subscribe to multiple channels; see instructions) the Connect Care Update blog for prescribers. On the eve of Wave 2 launch, there are many recent additions to this blog and its various channels to note:

Countdown Checklist W2 L-01: Share and Learn

Continuing a list of essential actions for Wave 2 physicians readying for Connect Care Launch Oct 24, 2020...
  • Share and Learn
No more countdown checklist! We are down to the final day. Any preparations that could be, have been. Now we must turn to one another in a spirit of adventure.

Super Users are widely distributed. Look for yellow and orange. Don't struggle. Ask for help.
Super Users use social media to rapidly share learnings so they can be widely applied... ask them for help. They can also wayfind when they are unable to provide immediate help themselves.


Countdown Checklist W2 L-02: You've Got This!

Continuing a list of essential actions for Wave 2 physicians readying for Connect Care Launch Oct 24, 2020...
  • You've Got This -- And We've Got Your Back
Physicians, nurse practitioners and other prescribers have dedicated time and energy to preparing for the Wave 2 launch of Connect Care. You've got this! 
  • There are approximately 580 prescriber end users that are part of Wave 2: physicians, nurse practitioners, clinical assistants, physician assistants, dentists, residents, medical learners, and nurse practitioner students.
  • Over a hundred prescriber Super Users are deployed for at-the-elbow support totalling over 4,500 hours of scheduled availability. 
  • Almost 300 hours of on-site drop-in and over 600 hours of virtual drop-in support is provided for prescribers during the pre- and post-launch period.
Watch for Connect Care posters in Wave 2 sites, prescriber updates, and the launch support pages in the Clinician Manual.

Connect Care Wave 2 - Why Now?

Connect Care Wave 2 launches in just a few days. Site physicians new to Connect Care, as well as those shouldering re-directed work, may question the wisdom of adding informational stress to pandemic pressure. These concerns are taken seriously. The risks and benefits of clinical information system (CIS) launch are weighed, and re-weighed.

COVID Pressures

Unfortunately, pandemic pressures are unlikely to change anytime soon. Indeed, we will continue to adapt for years to come. 

One of our most effective adaptations is Connect Care. The CIS, where implemented, has enabled more flexible practice, safer workflows, better integration with laboratory and virtual health services, and rapid deployment of new guidelines and decision supports. The more sites we have on Connect Care, the smoother we transition COVID patients to the level and location of care they need. 

On balance, pandemic pressures are easier to manage on Connect Care than off (also a factor in launch decisions by other large sites). 

No Good Time

The lead up to a launch date is complex and effortful. Training, technology, people and processes are all readied and aligned. There are so many interdependencies that any launch deferral would be to a much later date, with no assurance that conditions would have improved by then. We are in a strong position now, with excellent Super User, leader, drop-in and other supports already in play. 

Site Success Is a Zone Accountability

Wave 2 sites do not work alone. They are surrounded by groups already using a stable and strong Connect Care CIS, sites that help shoulder launch burdens. Readiness includes zonal redirection and other supports integrated with pandemic emergency response planning. The time is right.

Weekend Launch

A weekend launch date is best because there are minimal ambulatory appointments or elective surgeries, and the inpatient census is easier to contain. Furthermore, fewer diagnostic tests are scheduled and inter-facility transfers for procedures are limited. 

Safety Valve

Connect Care has proven its value at our Wave 1 sites over the last year, where it has stabilized and continually improved. Wave 2 sites will benefit from greater system maturity, and they will benefit even more from the accumulated experience of a large population of proficient users. 

We have great confidence in the leadership, staff and clinicians at all sites that will be implementing Connect Care, and expect that these will return to near-normal throughput sooner than imagined. 

That said, go-no-go decisions are revisited frequently... right up to the final launch hour. Wave 2 clinicians can trust that their CIS benefit/risk balance is a matter of constant, vigilant attention. Be sure to keep your leaders updated with any new developments or concerns.


Connect Care Wave 2 is On

 From Francois Belanger and Sean Chilton...

In just under one week, we will reach another very important milestone in healthcare in Alberta: Wave 2 of Connect Care is set to launch at 5:00 a.m. on October 24 in the Edmonton Zone. We know that you have all been involved in months and even years of preparation to bring us to this point on the Connect Care journey.
Our patients have been our focus every step of the way. Connect Care will transform how patient information flows between patients and their healthcare providers, eventually creating a central access point for current and accurate patient information across AHS. The whole healthcare team, including patients, will have the best possible information throughout their care journey.
We’ve prepared a video message to thank Wave 2 teams for all you have done at your sites and programs to get ready to launch. You are changing healthcare for Albertans and you should be proud of all you have accomplished, even before we launch.

We know that with increased pressure from the pandemic and our ongoing daily work challenges, this has been an intense process. We also know that launching will result in new issues that we will need to work through. We are prepared for this and have ensured that throughout the launch period, Wave 2 teams will have resources and supports available in-person and virtually.
We also want to share a documentary video about our Wave 1 launch, which happened almost one year ago. The video captured the experience of the actual launch, as well as a look at the months after Connect Care was put in place. It will give you a sense of the challenges and successes that are part of this massive undertaking. Thank you to our Wave 1 teams for paving the way.
If you have questions, or need support, please visit Connect Care launch support – there are resources there to help you.
Once again, we want to thank everyone, and especially our Connect Care teams, for your commitment to healthcare in this province. Thank you for your collaboration and support of one another. Thank you for your amazing work to make Connect Care a reality in Wave 2.
The countdown is on!
Dr. Francois Belanger
Chief Medical Officer
Executive Co-sponsor of Connect Care
Sean Chilton
Vice President Health Professions and Practice and Information Technology
Executive Co-sponsor of Connect Care

Countdown Checklist W2 L-03: Catch up Dictations

Continuing a list of essential actions for Wave 2 physicians readying for Connect Care Launch Oct 24, 2020...
  • Dictate any pre-launch admission or transfer notes
Wave 2 inpatient facilities are supported for dictation of admission histories, transfer notes,  consultation reports and discharge summaries. This is done through the provincial eScription service, with products appearing in the Netcare electronic health record. These dictations will also be available to refer to in Connect Care when it launches.

Succinct initial progress notes  become possible in Connect Care if they can refer to an existing digital admission or transfer record and simply note and changes since. The same applies for Consults performed in the coming week for patients expected to still be in-hospital post-launch.
  • Take advantage of eScription to facilitate easier Connect Care cutover next weekend!


Connect Care - A Year In

Alberta Health Services (AHS) continues to "Connect Care" for patients and families through a continuum of care clinical information system enabling better health powered by information.

The following documentary shares highlights from Connect Care's first launch, November 3, 2019, at Wave 1 sites about a year ago:

Even with a pandemic surge, we are stronger moving into our second wave launch. Good to remember where we've been!

Countdown Checklist W2 L-04: Unburden as Possible

Continuing a list of essential actions for Wave 2 physicians readying for Connect Care Launch Oct 24, 2020...
  • Unburden
Current clinical services have limited ability to control patient census or clinical workloads. However, this is the time to make every effort to ease the launch by re-considering the following:
  • Do everything possible on inpatient services to expedite discharges and decrease occupancy. 
  • Consider rehabilitation or other community services outside Wave 2 sites that might be available for transitional transfer. 
  • Transfer all patients who could be repatriated to other hospitals within the pre-launch week, wherever possible. These hospitals are informed and primed to prioritize Wave 2 sending sites. 
  • Identify and flag complex continuing patients who may need more cutover attention during the pre-launch week. 
  • Ensure that any possible clinician reserves are mobilized, including sick roster backup and any other resources that can be leveraged to increase physician supports at launch.
  • Lighten ambulatory and surgical loads in any way possible for next week.
  • Above all, make sure that you and colleagues have the Connect Care access you need and are working in PRD this week to familiarize and personalize.


Countdown Checklist W2 L-05: Buddy Up, Team Up

Continuing a list of essential actions for Wave 2 physicians readying for Connect Care Launch Oct 24, 2020...
  • Buddy-Up and Team-Up
Every clinical group will have members who like, and others who dislike, information management. This is a good time to recognize this reality and identify buddies for providers who may struggle.

There are valuable human resources embedded in Wave 2 sites and others flowing in from Zone sites already on Connect Care. Pre-socialize your Super Users, Medical Informatics Leads, Area Trainers and other specialty, ward or clinic informaticians. Create and share a launch contact list that fits your local group needs. Prescriber launch supports (launchhelp.connect-care.ca) link to site-specific pages listing good contacts to start with.

This is also a good time to consider how clinical information system adoption work can be divided and shared. Some personalization tasks, for example, can dramatically improve the user experience but take time to set up. Many can be initiated by a team member who understands the preferences of colleagues then shared for adoption by a larger group. 

Examples of allocatable personalization tasks are listed in the Connect Care Physician Manual.

Consider devoting group, division, or other business meetings to identifying, and sharing, remaining team readiness tasks.


Countdown Checklist W2 L-06: Find Drop-In Centres

Continuing a list of essential actions for Wave 2 physicians readying for Connect Care Launch Oct 24, 2020...
  • Take advantage of Prescriber Drop-in Centres
Scheduled drop-in help sessions are available just before and for weeks post-launch. These are good for troubleshooting issues related to mobility, personal device, dictation, personalization and workflows, as well as login, role and access problems.

The master schedule for all sites (including dates, times, and rooms) and site-specific schedules can be found in the Connect Care Manual (Devon, Fort Saskatchewan, Leduc, NECHC, Strathcona, Sturgeon, Westview).

Note that locations and times can change. Late-breaking information about the drop-in centres will be posted in Connect Care Manual (launchhelp.connect-care.ca).


Connect Care Wave 2 Launch - Panel Discussion

Alberta Health Services (AHS) continues to "Connect Care" for patients and families through a continuum of care clinical information system enabling better health powered by information.

This "Conversations with Yiu" video discusses preparations and readiness for the second Connect Care launch wave:

Panelists include:

  • Heather Durstling, Executive Director, Suburban Hospitals Edmonton Zone
  • Judith Hockney, Senior Operating Officer, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Lois Hole Hospital for Women and Sturgeon Community Hospitals
  • Barb Kathol, Senior Program Officer, Connect Care
  • Stuart Rosser, Interim Chief Medical Information Officer

Clinical Inquiry Cases - Grand Rounds Oct 23, 2020

Connect Care Clinical Inquiry Clinics, now Clinical Inquiry Cases, explore user-submitted data report and visualization needs for match to in-system self-serve inquiry tools. The case analysis is shared, and participants can adapt resulting templates to their needs. The first "clinics" were offered as scheduled sessions, then continued as case consultations posted online via a clinical inquiry blog theme

Part of the clinical inquiry support initiative will be a medical grand rounds session October 23, 2020 from 0800-0900. All Edmonton Zone department of medicine members receive email invitations. Others who may want to join the Zoom session can request registration.

  • Title: Connecting Care with Inquiry
  • Time: October 23, 2020, 0800-0900
  • Venue: Zoom by invitation and registration
  • Objectives:
    • Recognize how the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS) can support clinical improvement.
    • Appreciate how the Clinical Information Sharing Approach (CISA) promotes CIS-enabled inquiry.
    • Consider how in-system clinical inquiry supports and services can facilitate personal and group improvement projects.
We continue to welcome suggestions for future inquiry case consultations:

Countdown Checklist W2 L-07: Follow the Tippies

Continuing a list of essential actions for Wave 2 physicians readying for Connect Care Launch Oct 24, 2020...
  • Follow Connect Care Tippies
With most Wave 2 prescribers having full Connect Care production access, this is prime time for setting up starter personalizations that can streamline Connect Care workflows at launch. This is also a great time to collect simple best practices that colleagues have found most useful. These "Tippy" peer-to-peer tips can be considered within a moment, with most able to speed things up for most users.

Tippies are published on our "Tips" Channel (button above or tips.connect-care.ca) and will be re-released approximately daily in the peri-launch period. Please consider subscribing to the Tips channel.

The entire Tippies collection can be viewed via tippies.connect-care.ca or tippy.connect-care.ca (worth bookmarking).

On Other Channels...

Thank you for continuing to check (... ideally, subscribe to multiple channels; see instructions) the Connect Care Update blog for prescribers. The pace of communications has picked up with the Wave 2 launch soon upon us, so we post more frequently about recent additions to this blog and its various channels: