Connect Care July 2018 Calendar

A summary of key Connect Care happenings in July 2018 has been posted to the Alberta Health Services internal Connect Care website, linked below.

With completion of the first Adoption & Validation session, configuration teams are busy at work implementing decisions made in build buckets 1 and 2. They confront new questions while tackling development tasks and now have clear processes for just-in-time access to clinical, operational and governance consultation. Specialty Clinical System Design has started, with Area Councils establishing specialty workgroups to take on document, decision and inquiry support customization tasks. Training and support plans are tangible, with recruitment and certification of curriculum developers under way. Most importantly, an approved change management framework guides preparations for a fall Clinical and Operational Readiness (CORe) launch.


Connect Care June 29 Newsletter Posted

The June 29, 2018, Connect Care Newsletter is available via the link below, covering the first Adoption & Validation session in Calgary, data conversion and the clinical information system build collaboratory.


Connect Care Adoption & Validation #2 Preparations

The next Adoption & Validation session takes place in Edmonton, August 14 to 16, 2018 at the Shaw Conference Centre. This second consultation shifts attention to workflows and configuration choices not previously covered, and some where active change continues. The topics will relate to build ‘buckets’ finishing over the summer. Accordingly the call for subject matter expertise will also be tailored.

We emphasize that lack of participation in Adoption & Validation 2 carries no implication about which clinical areas are important or which subject matter experts are most involved in Connect Care design and build. Many parallel clinical system design, data conversion, implementation planning and other activities tap into the broad range of input needed to ensure that Connect Care takes shape as users would want.

Invited participants can expect to hear from the Connect Care Program Office within the next two weeks.


Connect Care Data Conversion Progressing

Alberta Health Services (AHS) has started the process of bringing (or “converting”) data from current health information systems into the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS). This will ensure that clinicians will have the information they need to serve patients and populations.

In early 2018, the Connect Care conversion team reached out to clinicians, leaders and technical experts across Alberta to get input about the amount and kind of information that needs to be available in Connect Care. This input helped inform scoping recommendations for data conversion. The Connect Care Executive Committee approved both data scoping principles and processes.

The CIS data conversion initiative applies data conversion principles to the extraordinarily complex task of assessing the quality of source system data and meta-data (data properties and relationships). This helps determine if health data can be safely imported and placed in a fully integrated CIS, where meta-data abounds with links to clinical context, purpose, decision and how the information is used in clinical, inquiry and instructional workflows. Additionally, data must be “normalized” to reference the same units, expected ranges and meta-data terminologies.

Where the risks associated with conversion are too great, Connect Care will default to health data captured directly to the CIS. Clinicians are supported through transitions with read-only access to legacy health information systems. Of course the Alberta Netcare Portal (EHR) eases continued access to older information, helping clinicians review historical health data when adding richly connected new information to the Connect Care health record.


Physician Access to Digital Records when Patients Complain

​In mid-August 2016, the Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner of Alberta (OIPC) publicly reported its investigation into the alleged misuse of EHR records by two physicians who were responding to a patient complaint about the quality of their care, in the case Gowrishankar v JK. There have been developments since we last explored possible implications of this case.

The two physicians, with AHS and the AMA as interested parties, appealed the OIPC’s decision.  In January 2018, the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta released its decision on the appeal.  It did not change the majority of the OIPC’s findings, but the Court did find that the physicians’ use and disclosure was in compliance with the Alberta Health Information Act.

In February 2018, the patient appealed the decision of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta to the Court of Appeal of Alberta.  While the appeal to the Court of Appeal is outstanding, the AHS policy and procedures related to the use and disclosure of health information remain the same and should be followed.
A backgrounder and FAQ express AHS’ understanding of the information and disclosure processes, along with appropriate documentation, implicated in the case and its appeal.


Connect Care Adoption & Validation #1 a Success

Adoption & Validation is one of the major activities occurring during design of the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS). The relationships between design and build activities are summarized in an online presentation: How the system is built. The first Adoption & Validation session occurred last week at the Calgary Telus Convention Centre and was a big success.

The formal sessions proved very helpful to those working to shape the AHS CIS. Lots of good discussion tapped expertise and experience from all corners of the province. Many groups, including Area Councils, Specialty Workgroups and Committees took opportunity to meet and tackle complex issues. Indeed, the intensity and productivity of these “un-sessions” reflect how far we’ve come in just over half a year. Connect Care goals are taken for granted. Stakeholders are deeply engaged, and a problem-solving spirit moves us forward more than any leadership team could have hoped for.

Physician leads gathered at various times during the week, including a standing-room-only discussion about mobile solutions. The group resolved to hold similar meets at upcoming sessions, each addressing a theme of particular interest to physicians.

The next Adoption & Validation session will take place in Edmonton, August 14 to 16, 2018.


AHS Recognized for Integration Accomplishments

Befitting our Connect Care ambitions, AHS has recently been cited among the top 5 organizations worldwide for health system integration. And we've only just begun!


Connect Care June 15 Newsletter Posted

The June 15, 2018, Connect Care Newsletter is available via the link below, covering clinician overview training, how transfusion medicine will be supported in the clinical information system (CIS), and an upcoming Adoption & Validation session in Calgary.


Great Presentation about End-user Device Integration with an Enterprise Clinical Information System

Connect Care is at a critical juncture when decisions about workplace reorganization prepare for radically different information flows in busy inpatient workplaces. We continue to carefully consider experiences of other clinical information system implementers.

Dr James King (CMIO, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario) describes systematic efforts to understand optimal intersects between devices, applications and clinical work in a superlative recent presentation. Well worth the viewing!


Why should nursing care about Connect Care?

Thanks to Tim Graham for relaying this nice tidbit...

The Connect Care initiative was presented at the MEDICINEcares Conference 2018 in Edmonton last week. Attendees participated in a Menti feedback activity, generating a word cloud from the question "What makes you most excited about Connect Care?":


Artificial Intelligence for Connect Care

Applications of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have moved from theory to practice, with exciting opportunities to improve health care and outcomes. Still, the field is new and mysterious to many. Media controversy can add to the confusion.

As we progress with Connect Care clinical system design (CSD), the AI strengths of Epic Systems and Alberta stakeholders are exposed, with promise of excellent collaboration and exciting possibilities. With system-wide informational integration, we anticipate improved insight about how care is provided, with what results. The Connect Care Clinical Improvement Support Committee already deliberates about implementation of AI-enabled predictive analytics and precision medicine supports.

The time is right for Connect Care stakeholders to build a pragmatic understanding of AI, machine learning, precision medicine and personalized medicine. A recent short Economist piece gives a good starting point:


Toronto SickKids Go-Live

We are thrilled to hear that the Toronto SickKids hospital has gone live with the Epic clinical information system enterprise-wide. AHS and SickKids leadership are in close communication, enabling sharing of lessons learned. Great to be in great company!


Understanding Training Needs

Before Connect Care training supports can be designed for Alberta Health Services (AHS) clinicians, physicians and staff, their roles, responsibilities and clinical information system dependencies need to be better understood.

Clinical information system training programs will, as much as possible, reflect how new skills can be acquired most efficiently. Among other things, job shadowing is used to get closer to frontline learning styles, and to appreciate how roles and capacities vary across the province. The Connect Care Clinical Operations team is reaching out to program and service leaders to request these and other discovery opportunities.


Connect Care June 1 Newsletter Posted

The June 1, 2018, Connect Care Newsletter is available via the link below, covering new work to understand how workforce roles relate to the clinical information system (CIS), what clinicians who do not use an Alberta Health Services health record can expect from the CIS, and recent refinements to Connect Care communication channels.