AHS CIS Information Sharing Approach

​Information sharing is about how health data is collected, accessed, used, disclosed, and exchanged. Connect Care, as a continuum-of-care one-patient-one-record-one-system initiative, will challenge traditional ways of thinking about information sharing. To the extent that Clinical Information Systems (CIS) integrate across domains with different legislation (e.g. Health Information Act, Hospitals Act, Health Professions Act), regulations (e.g. CPSA charting standards) and policies (e.g., medical staff bylaws), a new and integrative approach to information sharing needs to work for all stakeholders in all settings. As clinicians move from independent to shared digital records, this touches the core of health care professionalism.
Diverse stakeholders have worked to develop a new "Information Sharing Approach" applicable to all AHS CISs, all participating health care providers and all settings. Shared rights, responsibilities and accountabilities are endorsed and embraced to build trust and protect the privacy, confidentiality, security and integrity of health information in all AHS CISs.
Learn more about the approach from the links provided and please provide feedback. The goal is to firm-up new arrangements in fourth quarter 2017.


What’s in a name? – Clinical Decision Support

​As design and build of the AHS Provincial Clinical Information System (CIS) starts, we are reminded that we are NOT building a digital health record. Rather, we are growing a system that supports coordinated care, best practice and clinical improvement. The magic sauce… helping users made good decisions.

Digitizing health information, and delivering it to clinical decision-makers, does not necessarily improve health care. Informed choice is facilitated when information about health is connected with information about how to improve health. Accordingly, "meaningful use" of the CIS is more likely when connections between observations and knowledge serve better processes, outcomes and satisfaction for patients, providers and policy-makers. This is what Clinical Decision Support (CDS) is about. 


Getting Ready - Current State Assessment

As part of our preparation for Connect Care, the AHS Provincial CIS team meets with clinical teams across the province to document what services AHS provides and how technology is used by healthcare providers in their daily work. Right now, AHS supports clinical care with over 1,300 different information systems. This fragments Albertans’ information, also making it harder for clinicians to provide comprehensive care.

Current state assessment teams have already engaged with many clinical teams to learn how the services we deliver interact with technology. Through this work we have already heard from over 800 clinical staff and physicians from across the province, across specialties and across diverse care settings.

We are moving through this process sequentially. As the current state assessments home in on critical clinical workflows, given the size and diverse needs of the organization, intersects with teams focus on smaller segments.  One of our early observations is that we deliver very similar services provincially, with largely the same high level processes. And there is widespread recognition of need for more consistency in how these services are supported with technology. This is great news as we move forward.

Follow the link to view an infographic that illustrates the current areas of work under Connect Care current assessment. We recognize that we have yet to touch all areas within AHS, but be assured that we are working our way through the organization and eventually will meet with representatives from all clinical areas impacted by Connect Care.

Through these initial meetings we have developed a high-level understanding and received good feedback about the process.  As we work with your teams to prepare for Connect Care, we will continue to enhance our understanding of how care is delivered, and where the CIS can have the most positive impacts.


Soft Security Tokens for AHS CIS & AH Netcare Remote Access

​Alberta Health Services (AHS) staff and affiliate clinicians may be authorized to access Clinical Information System (CIS), Netcare or other health information systems remotely from locations outside AHS network firewalls. This remote access requires two-factor authentication; such that the user 1) knows something (username and password) and has something (a Token or other securely recognized device).  Two-factor authentication reduces the risk of a security breach due to loss or theft of any one piece of information.

Some users requiring frequent or varied remote access find a physical security Token inconvenient; and unavailable when needed. These same users may have a smartphone always available and appreciate use of a "soft token" that works as an application. Replacing a "hard token" with "soft token" technology is fairly straightforward. Follow the link provided and work through the instructions starting on page 14.


No Secret Plan

​Connect Care is a significant investment in the future of healthcare in Alberta. This large-scale project will take time to put in place. As the Connect Care team continues to delve into preparations for this initiative, we are undertaking a thorough process to understand how all the pieces fit together.

You will start to see more communications as we work toward the design and build phase of the project. In the meantime, we will continue to collaborate and share our progress with you.

Please visit ahs.ca/connectcare or contact connectcare@ahs.ca with questions.


Connect Care Technology Partner

After almost a year of evaluation – and consultation involving hundreds of clinicians, staff and patients – Alberta Health Services (AHS) has announced that Epic is the chosen vendor responding to a Request for Proposal (RFP) to help build the AHS Provincial Clinical Information System (CIS). The CIS provides the technology platform to enable Connect Care, an AHS-led initiative to transform healthcare delivery in the province. 

The RFP process was thorough and conducted with fastidious care. A first phase narrowed the field to 3 vendors felt most able to address the full range of AHS integration needs, with capacity to implement sustainably for an entire province. The second phase engaged hundreds more evaluators, site visits, reference reports and financial analyses to complement a deep dive examination of 24 functional domains and 4 areas. The results were consistent and clear, with strong agreement across domains, areas, regions, disciplines and experiences.

Epic started in 1979 and has grown to serve as the largest continuum-of-care digital health record provider for complex health care organizations like ours. Epic develops software to help people get well, stay well and prepare future generations to be healthier. 

Now that Epic has been selected as the preferred vendor, contract negotiations proceed while comparing an emerging understanding of our current state with a detailed assessment of what Epic has ready to go. The gap analysis will be informed by readiness assessments, strategic transformation analyses and listings of CIS capabilities prioritized for early attention. All this helps prepare for collaborative design and build, which begins fall 2017.

The Connect Care integration goal remains to migrate the majority of AHS clinical systems to the AHS Provincial CIS over the next 4-6 years. Existing systems will be kept functioning and current until ready for transition. Transitions will be guided cost-effectively, with support for AHS teams to safely prepare for changes.

Keep a close eye on the Connect Care web and SharePoint sites for the latest news.


Connect Care Information Gateways

Alberta Health Services has opened a new website that can help stakeholders learn about Connect Care, follow developments, ask questions and discover why Connect Care matters. There are views optimized for patients and families, and others focused on the information needs of health care professionals. An intranet (Insite) page is open to all of AHS. Connect and find out why you should Care!
An internal AHS site (SharePoint) is used by teams working on Connect Care. It offers a single point of contact for finding detailed information about progress, projects, resources and governance. Optimized to support a community of practice, there are discussion boards, blogs, team tools, calendars and progress dashboards. If you are not able to connect, and are an involved AHS staff member, please send a request to the connect care email intake.


“Connect Care” is our CIS Initiative

Connect Care encompasses all the work being done to transform the way we provide care at AHS, and empower change with information. The initiative attends to information gaps that can frustrate integration of health services across the continuum of care. Connect Care will enable use of the AHS Provincial Clinical Information System (CIS) to support the work we do and enhance the quality of care we provide. 


CIS Physician Design Leads

We are thrilled to welcome four physician design leads as senior medical leaders who will help guide the design and development of the AHS Provincial Clinical Information System (CIS). Starting July 1, 2017, reporting to the CMIO, this group works in “triad” (clinical-operations-technology) relationships stewarding the CIS.
Echo Enns is a family physician and hospitalist who has served in diverse leadership positions including Physician Lead of both the Peter Lougheed and the Foothills Medical Center hospitalist programs (first of their kind in Canada), She has lead several QI projects, including medication reconciliation, optimization of discharge summaries, ward communications, and paging etiquette. Echo's deep understanding of front-line clinical work-flows will be invaluable to CIS design.
Vanessa McLean also brings a wealth of AHS leadership experience to the CIS initiative, from f​ront-line to administrative roles, including an impactful stint as South Zone Medical Director. Vanessa’s broad experience includes building collaborative relationships with varied stakeholders, troubleshooting and leading during critical incidents, participating in strategic planning, and working with teams to achieve operational objectives.
Stuart Rosser, currently in his third year as Site Chief for the Medicine Program at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton, knows well the administrative, logistical, and clinical requirements for delivering care to a broad range of patients. His leadership has emphasized physicians' personal accountability for the value they add to the healthcare system, emphasizing education, administration, and quality improvement. Has worked on zone CIS projects and provincial information stewardship initiatives, with a deep understanding of the work that will be required to align clinical, business, and IT requirements.
Chris White, previously a program leader for the Calgary Neuromuscular Program, is currently a Clinical Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Calgary. He remains a busy clinician who deeply understands the reality of clinical settings and information intersects. In his previous role as South Health Campus Site Lead, Chris was instrumental in fostering collaborative partnerships between clinicians, administration and IT. This site achieved significant stakeholder alignment, key to a successful implementation of integrative clinical programs and teams. 
fifth design lead position remains open, with recruitment underway. We are seeking a physician experienced with clinical support programs like diagnostic imaging, laboratories, microbiology or pathology.​
AHS CIS MD Roles: handbook.ahs-cis.ca/?=12381
Design Lead Posting: li.ahs-cmio.ca/designlead