2021-07-31

Connect Care Wave 4 Countdown Checklist

Starting a list of essential actions for Wave 4 prescribers readying for Connect Care Launch November 7, 2021...
  • Bookmark Connect Care Countdown Checklist 
A countdown checklist can help prescribers to get ready for their Connect Care launch by breaking a complex undertaking into a series of simple tasks. The order is important, starting with the actions needed to do future work without hassle.

Each checklist item includes brief explanatory notes plus links to relevant tips, demonstrations, resources or guides.

Please subscribe to this blogging channel, where all checklist items are posted. You can also bookmark the checklist-only link and check in periodically.

2021-07-30

AHS CMIO Portfolio Leadership

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

From Dr. Francois Belanger, AHS Chief Medical Officer & Vice President Quality:


I am very pleased to announce Dr. Jeremy Theal will assume the role of Chief Medical Information Officer (CMIO) for AHS, effective August 30, 2021.

I would like to sincerely thank Dr. Stuart Rosser for providing interim coverage for the Chief Medical Information Officer role over the last year. His familiarity with the Connect Care design, build, and implementation provided the context and continuity, which were imperative to this transition period, and I am grateful for his leadership and support during this time. Dr. Rosser will continue to benefit the Connect Care Project and will return to his role of Physician Design Lead.   

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. Theal graduated from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine in 1999 in addition to completing an internship in Clinical Informatics at the Harvard Medical School during the summer of 1998. In 2003, Dr. Theal completed his Fellowship in Internal Medicine followed by a Fujisawa Fellowship in Hepatobiliary Disease and ERCP in 2005, an AstraZeneca Fellowship in Endoscopic Ultrasound in 2005 and a Fellowship in Gastroenterology in 2006. Dr. Theal is currently Staff Gastroenterologist at the North York General Hospital in Toronto, Ontario since 2006.  

Over the past 15 years, Dr. Theal has held several key health informatics leadership roles at the hospital, provincial and national level. As the Chief Medical Information Officer at North York General Hospital, he was the physician lead of a multi-award winning clinical information system implementation that built evidence into daily care workflows and significantly reduced inpatient mortality. He founded and led the innovative Clinical Systems Benefits and Adoption Team, which was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and provided peer-to-peer coaching in clinical systems implementation to over 80 hospitals across Ontario, resulting in reduced project costs and improved system outcomes. At Canada Health Infoway, he led several projects including the Canadian CPOE Toolkit, a digital network that freely shared a library of over 1,500 evidence-based electronic order sets among publicly-funded hospitals and long-term care facilities nationwide. For his efforts in improving patient care with clinical systems, Dr. Theal received the Ontario Minister's Medal Honouring Excellence in Health Quality and Safety. In 2020, he completed a one year program in Safety, Quality, Informatics and Leadership at Harvard.

Dr. Theal is an experienced physician leader with proven results in transforming care at an organizational, provincial and national level through design, implementation and data-driven improvement of clinical information systems. This previous experience combined with his passion for improving quality and safety of care will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to Alberta Health Services in his role as Chief Medical Information Officer.  

Please join me in giving a warm welcome to Dr. Theal in his new role.  

Connect Care Wave 4 Countdown

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

The Connect Care Wave 4 launch date is set for the early hours of Sunday, November 7, 2021. This Wave will bring many sites into the Connect Care fold, including the following:
  • Calgary Zone: Alberta Children’s Hospital, Peter Lougheed Centre, Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatric Centre (and associated forensic services), rural acute and combined acute and long-term care sites, Calgary Tuberculosis Clinic, Southern Alberta Clinic 
    • Urgent care: Sheldon M. Chumir Health Centre, South Calgary Health Centre, Airdrie, Okotoks, Cochrane
    • Addiction and Mental Health (AMH): Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatric Centre (and associated forensic services), AMH urgent care centres, AMH rural and select urban ambulatory clinics
  • Edmonton Zone: Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Lois Hole Hospital for Women, Royal Alexandra Hospital, AMH addiction/residential programs
  • Pharmacy and diagnostic imaging: sites in Edmonton, Calgary including Central Production Pharmacy
  • Alberta Precision Laboratories: Alberta Children’s Hospital Genetics Services South Lab, sites in Edmonton including Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital, Royal Alexandra Hospital, Grey Nuns Hospital, Misericordia Community Hospital
We are within 100 days from the Wave 4 launch.

Having learned how important it is to avoid a last minute rush, our Countdown Checklist (checklist.connect-care.ca) restarts for Wave 4. This checklist allows prescribers to ensure that requirements are met as they progress from registration through training, proficiency, personalization and launch-readiness. A convenient option is to subscribe to this blog so each Countdown Checklist post is sent directly to your preferred email.

2021-07-27

Workspace ONE Outage - Thursday July 29, 2021, 19:00-23:00

As part of routine maintenance, there will be a very short outage of Workspace ONE, the application that AHS uses to manage clinical mobile apps, on Thursday, July 29, 2021 between 19:00 and 23:00. The outage may last as long as 5 minutes.

This brief outage could affect users of the Connect Care mobility apps Haiku and Canto. Users of these apps during the outage window may be kicked out. If that happens, please wait 5 minutes and then log back in.

2021-07-22

Connect Care 180-Day Inactive Access Account Disabling

As of July 22, 2021, the Alberta Health Services Identity & Access Management (AHS IAM) team activates an anticipated security practice for Connect Care. In short, Connect Care user accounts that are not accessed for 180 consecutive days will be inactivated. Users with inactive accounts will not be able to log in to Connect Care.   

  • Anyone at risk of Connect Care account inactivation (no log ins for 150 days) will be sent automated email notifications from “Identity Management”, the AHS IAM system.
    • Email notifications are sent both to the user and to the user's "Authorized Approver" (manager), with repeat notices 30, 15 and 2 days prior to the inactivation date. 
    • Email notifications identify the upcoming inactivation date and actions that can be taken to maintain access.
    • Prescribers may also receive additional email notifications from Provincial Medical Affairs.
  • If the Connect Care user fails to log in despite warnings, the account will be switched to inactive status on the previously identified inactivation date. 
  • Inactive accounts can be reactivated if and when users return to active clinical work in Connect Care settings. Managers will work with the affected end user to determine the best pathway to renewed Connect Care access, including any training or other remediation that may be required.  

The previously described inactive user protocol comes into force Tuesday, August 24, 2021. The process helps ensure that Connect Care users remain available for system alerts, information about new or changed features, and important clinical notifications. 

Managers may want to attend Zoom Virtual Office Hours (to be recorded) to explore their role and the inactivation protocol in more detail:  

This inactivation protocol applies to all AHS employees, members of the medical and midwifery teams, students, volunteers, and other persons acting on behalf of AHS (including contracted service providers).

More information:

2021-07-21

More With Less: Using Mobile Billing for Repetitive Services

We've previously posted about the re-release of professional billing supports within Connect Care's mobile platforms (Haiku for smartphones and Canto for iPads). It is nice to see growing uptake.

Some users wonder about best "use cases" for mobile billing. One such case relates to submission of multiple repetitive charges (service event billings) for a patient. Mobile billing offers a unique feature for "copy-forward" of a prior charge to a new date without having to re-enter all the billing details (e.g., health problems, referring provider, modifiers):

  • Open a patient's chart in Haiku or Canto and go to the Charge activity.
  • Confirm or select the date for the intended billing charge.
  • Tap the "Add" button, then tap the copy icon (top left), then select the prior charge (e.g., hospital visit) to be copied.
  • Tap "done" (top right).
  • Optionally tap the copied charge for further editing (but in most cases it can be left as is... the needed date changes are automatically updated).
  • Tap "File" to submit the charge.
  • Cycle through this workflow (it gets fast!) for all the days that the charge should be copied to.

Use of the mobility copy charge feature can dramatically speed up, for example, recording multiple daily visits for a patient one has been caring for over a period of time in hospital. See the mobile billing Manual and linked tips resources, focusing on the "copy" feature, for more information.

2021-07-16

MyAHS Connect: Putting Health Information into the Hands of Albertans

This July 2021, we reached an exciting milestone: more than 50,000 patients now have access to their Connect Care health record through MyAHS Connect! 

Patients accessing services at AHS facilities that have implemented Connect Care have the option to sign up for MyAHS Connect. A big thank you to prescribers at Connect Care sites who have encouraged their patients to “get connected!”

MyAHS Connect gives patients the opportunity to be a more active member of their healthcare team and enables them to communicate with their healthcare providers more easily, using their smartphone, tablet or computer. It’s a win-win for patients and care teams.

For more information about MyAHS Connect, see:

2021-07-14

Announcement: South Zone Associate Chief Medical Information Officer, Dr. Bilal Mir

A message from Dr. Aaron Low, Zone Medical Director, Alberta Health Services South Zone:


We are pleased to announce Dr. Bilal Mir has accepted the role of ACMIO effective June 14, 2021.

Dr. Mir was born and raised in Pakistan and completed Medical School at Nishtar Medical College in Multan, Pakistan. Before moving to Canada in 2001, he completed three years training in Surgery and Trauma in Zimbabwe. From 2002-2004, he was in the second batch of the Rural Family Medicine Residency program, based out of Lethbridge, AB. He went on to complete CCFP-EM training in University of Calgary. After finishing his residency, he practiced in Medicine Hat, AB as an Emergency Physician for four years. This was followed by working in Victoria, BC for five years as an Emergency Physician.

In 2014, Dr. Mir moved back to Alberta, working as an Emergency Physician at Foothills and Peter Lougheed Hospitals in Calgary, AB. His wife and extended family were originally from Lethbridge, which made their decision much easier to finally settle in Lethbridge, AB at the end of 2015.

In addition to working as an Emergency Physician in Lethbridge, Dr. Mir is also the Department Head of the Emergency Department at CRH and leads the ED program Quality Council for South Zone.

Dr. Mir loves the collaborative environment that is the Chinook Regional Hospital and is excited to start a new role as Associate Chief Medical Information Officer (ACMIO) in medical leadership. He has great enthusiasm for the Connect Care project, and the benefit this will be to our clinical care

He is happily married and has two wonderful boys. His interests include hikes, spending time in nature, love of the sport of Cricket, and spending time with his family.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Mir to his new role.

2021-07-06

Connect Care Scheduled Downtime - Thursday July 8, 2021, 00:30-04:30

The Connect Care clinical information system needs periodic maintenance. The next scheduled update will occur Thursday, July 8, 2021 between 00:30 and 04:30. On this occasion, Hyperspace, Transfusion (WellSky), MyAHS Connect and the Link Provider Portal systems are all affected.

Connect Care PRD SRO is not expected to be available during this maintenance window - please use North BCA Web if you need to view and print patient information during this time. 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".

Instruction on downtime procedures is available in the Connect Care Manual and additional linked resources:

2021-07-01

All Prescriber Bulletin - Discharge Documentation Co-sign for Medical Learners

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

Discharge Documentation Co-sign Mandatory for Trainees

Prescriber trainees and students, including medical students, residents and fellows, as well as nurse practitioner students, are “supervised” by fully licensed prescribers who must co-sign or attest to many trainee activities in the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS).

One activity where co-signs are always required relates to discharge documentation. Discharge, transfer, deceased, operative and consult reports are Connect Care summative documentation types that also flow to Netcare. Without a co-sign, the summative document will post to Netcare under the trainee's name (as opposed to the attending prescriber), which in turn provides an inaccurate reflection of the record of care and can impact follow-up efforts. 

For more information on prescriber trainee accountabilities:

2021-06-30

Connect Care Mobility Supports for Professional Billing Resume

The Connect Care clinical information system (CIS) supports prescribers wishing to record “charges” (billable professional services) during or after patient care. Participating prescribers typically personalize charge capture tools in Hyperspace so that common codes and modifiers are immediately available. 

Further efficiencies are possible when Connect Care mobile applications for smartphones (Haiku) and iPads (Canto) are used to manage repetitive billing tasks. Having previously posted about problems that required temporary suspension of mobile billing supports, we are pleased to report their reintroduction with many improvements.

The Manual highlights a few of the differences between billing activities in Hyperspace, Haiku and Canto. Two new tip-sheets explore the powerful billing functions available for immediate use.

2021-06-29

Subscribing to Connect Care Blogs - Updated

Blogs (short periodic online postings) can help clinicians to keep abreast of Connect Care developments, tips, questions and supports. All prescriber-oriented blogs are available via a common link:
Different “channels” address different needs:
All channels can be accessed from any other channel by using a button-bar that appears immediately below the blog title area. Select a button to jump to the channel of interest.


Note that the button bar also provides easy access to the Connect Care Manual, eHealth Glossary, MyLearningLink and HelpDesk. The far-right button will open a global search page that queries all blog channels at once. If searching within a channel, use the Search box towards the top of the left column.

By “subscribing” to a blog, one can be alerted to new material via email messages. A "Follow (subscribe)" tool in the middle of the right column allows an email address to be entered. The associated email distribution service has been switched to a new provider, simplifying the subscription process.

NOTE: All existing subscribers are required to confirm their subscription. Look to the top of the first of the new email newsletters and click on the link indicating confirmation of intent to continue.

2021-06-28

In Basket - Courtesy Copies Now in Transcription Folder

We've previously posted about the upcoming Connect Care Spring 2021 Upgrade, occurring on June 24, 2021. With this upgrade, Connect Care users will see courtesy copies of transcriptions created by eScription at sites not yet on Connect Care in the "Transcription" folder of their In Basket. 

If you have any questions about this new function, please contact: speechrecognition@ahs.ca.

2021-06-22

Connect Care Scheduled Downtime and Spring 2021 Upgrade - Thursday June 24, 2021, 00:30-04:30

The Connect Care clinical information system will be taking the scheduled maintenance window Thursday, June 24, 2021 between 00:30 and 04:30. Connect Care PRD SRO will be offline from 03:00 until the end of downtime - please use BCA Web North if you need to view and print patient information during this time. Note that the WellSky Transfusion Medicine System upgrade previously scheduled for the same time has been cancelled; users can follow normal WellSky outage procedures for blood product orders during the Connect Care downtime.

This downtime window is for the Spring 2021 Upgrade, with changes to most Connect Care applications. These changes are primarily enhancements and, for prescribers, affect three main areas (In Basket, Mobility, Personalization). There are also four tracks that will see some noticeable changes (Anesthesia, Cardiology, DI, Lumens). Tip sheets outlining the change impacts have been created for each of these areas, linked below and also on the Manual:

For those seeking additional details on the Spring 2021 Upgrade, a summary of all changes is available on Insite.

Instruction on downtime procedures is available in the Connect Care Manual and additional linked resources:

2021-06-17

Connect Care Transparent Lockdown - June 18, 2021 12:00-04:30 June 24, 2021

Connect Care anticipates a significant upgrade in the early hours of June 24, 2021 (post with details important for prescribers to come). Connect Care uses a "transparent lockdown" process during upgrades to help prepare the system and reduce the upgrade workload, resulting in a shortened downtime window. The transparent lockdown period for the upcoming upgrade is from Friday, June 18, 2021 at 12:00 to Thursday, June 24, 2021 at 04:30.  

The lockdown does not affect system performance, existing workflows, or the activities of most users (thus "transparent"). Physicians and other prescribers will have access to their personalized orders, tools and templates during the lockdown; however, there will be no ability to create new personalizations during the lockdown period. For more details:

Changes to Available Lab Results in MyHealth Records/My Personal Records

Effective June 15, 2021, lab tests for microbiology and blood bank will be released immediately to Alberta Health’s MyHealth Records, in the My Personal Records (MPR) application. This change is part of Alberta Health’s rollout of expanded result release, which began in February 2021, to provide Albertans with more access to their health information.

Once the changes are in place, new MPR users will see an 18-month retrospective view of any lab results slated for release. Existing MPR users will not have labs added retroactively, but they will be able to see the expanded lab results moving forward. 

As is the standard practice, Connect Care releases these lab test results to MyAHS Connect. What’s new is that, as of June 15, 2021, these specific lab test results will be released immediately to MyAHS Connect, instead of being delayed by five days as they were previously. This means that patients will have immediate access to more of their own lab results and may have questions for their healthcare providers about them. As part of the overall rollout plan, Alberta Health is planning to release additional lab test results to MPR in the coming months. We will provide more details regarding the next planned release as we have them. MyAHS Connect result release will change to immediate for results being released in MPR as they become available. 

Alberta Health is providing support to Albertans through the MyHealth.Alberta.ca website and a 24-hour telephone line at 1-844-401-4016. Albertans can also call HealthLink at 811 for health-related inquiries.

2021-06-15

Netcare Scheduled Outage - Thursday June 17, 2021, 21:00-03:00 Friday June 18, 2021

Alberta Netcare Portal will be unavailable between June 17, 2021 21:00 and 03:00 June 18, 2021, to accommodate system upgrades. 

Users who are logged in during this time will be disconnected and will need to re-authenticate following the outage period. 

If urgent access to results is anticipated during these periods, please refer to and complete the ANP Downtime Contingency Kit in advance of the maintenance. 

For any questions or concerns, AHS employees please contact 1-877-311-4300, while Community Alberta Netcare users (outside AHS) can contact the Provincial Helpdesk at 1-877-931-1638.

2021-06-14

Connect Care CMIO Refresher Training

Some Connect Care users trained in the earliest waves, particularly those who only occasionally use the system, may find it beneficial to have some refresher training to ensure they continue to have a positive user experience.

CMIO refresher training for Waves 1 and 2 CMIO users in the Edmonton Zone can be accessed in one of two ways:

  • Register for Independent Learning on MyLearningLink, available for the following tracks (more tracks to be added, see below*):
    • Epic – CMIO Addiction and Mental Health 
    • Epic – CMIO Ambulatory 
    • Epic – CMIO Anesthesia
    • Epic – CMIO Cardiology 
    • Epic – CMIO Critical Care Adult
    • Epic – CMIO Diagnostic Imaging
    • Epic – CMIO Emergency Medicine 
    • Epic – CMIO Inpatient Admitting and Consulting
    • Epic – CMIO Obstetrics and Gynecology 
    • Epic – CMIO Pediatrics
    • Epic – CMIO Rural
    • Epic – CMIO Surgery
    • Epic – CMIO Personalization (note: users need to complete their EUPA prior to registering)
OR
  • Register for EZ Wave Basic or Personalization Instructor Led Training (ILT) on MyLearningLink 

There is no time limit to access refresher training through the Independent Learning option, and users can pick and choose what they would like to review. While Independent Learning takes approximately 1.5-2 hours to complete, the total time refresher training via this option would take depends on how much the user would like to review.

Refresher training via the Instructor Led Training option runs from August 30 to October 31, and is a repeat of users' original basic or personalization training. In-person and virtual options are available. Basic Instructor Led Training for most tracks takes approximately 6 hours, and personalization Instructor Led Training takes approximately 4 hours. 

For any questions or if your track is not listed, please email CMIO.EZ@ahs.ca.

*Independent Learning for NICU and Lumens will be available by September, and Independent Learning for all tracks will be available by the start of Wave 4 (November 7). Another notice with an updated list will be posted when available.

2021-06-10

Acute Care COVID-19 Vaccinations Order Set Updated

Changing COVID-19 vaccine availability, paired with a constant imperative to immunize, makes it possible to offer vaccination to patients in AHS emergency and inpatient facilities, without some of the restrictions previously applied (e.g., 21-day stay).

The Connect Care inpatient (also available in ED) COVID-19 vaccine order set is updated to reflect changes in guidance about eligible patients and choice of second vaccine type.


2021-06-09

Improved Goals of Care Designation Order

We've previously posted about how goals of care designations can be viewed, modified and maintained in Connect Care.

The order composer used to record a goals of care designation (GCD) has been enhanced (now available in all Connect Care modules).

  1. Embedded summaries about the attributes of a particular GCD are more consistent and informative.
  2. Links are provided to clinician-friendly GCD definitions as well as to guidance about goals of care workflows.
  3. Clinicians can select more than one participant for GCD decisions, as appropriate.
  4. A goals of care tracking record entry can be generated from a link embedded in the GCD order.

Goals of Care Designations persist across encounters, but need to be re-validated at the beginning of in-patient encounters.

2021-06-08

Easier and More Flexible (Re-)Printing of Discharge Prescriptions

An enhancement was added to the Connect Care production environment today to make it easier for prescribers to reprint discharge prescriptions at locations or devices other than the nursing unit that the patient is discharged from. This can be useful when a new or corrected prescription needs to be generated after the prescriber has left the unit, or if the prescriber is facilitating information transfer to a pharmacy from, for example, the prescriber's office.

2021-06-07

End of Support for iOS 12 as of June 16, 2021

On Wednesday, June 16, 2021, Mobility Services will start blocking new enrolments for Apple mobile devices running iOS version 12. Mobile devices currently enrolled into Workspace ONE with iOS 12 will have a grace period of 90 days to be upgraded to one of the currently supported iOS versions (iOS 13 or 14).

As previously posted, iOS 12 support has already been dropped by some of the application vendors that AHS currently uses, and so these applications are not able to be installed or upgraded on devices running iOS 12. AHS mobile policy also requires that mobile device operating systems be kept up to date, to ensure that AHS data and resources remain secure for all devices connecting to an AHS environment. 

What to expect:

  • As of June 16, any Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program users who try to enrol a device running iOS 12 will get an "enrolment blocked" message and the enrolment will fail.
  • Starting June 16, BYOD users with enrolled devices that are running iOS 12 will get emails and/or Workspace ONE Hub notices indicating the need to update to a later version within 90 days. 
    • If a device is not upgraded to a supported iOS version in the 90-day grace period, it will automatically be unenrolled on the 91st day. Once unenrolled, all access to AHS data and resources will be removed from the device.
    • During this grace period, support for devices running iOS 12 will be on a best effort, with a direction for users to upgrade to a later iOS version. 

For more information or assistance, please contact the AHS Service Desk at 1-877-311-4300.

2021-06-02

COVID-19 and Connect Care - Outpatient Vaccination Orders

A previous posting explained a unique order-documentation workflow used for inpatients who might meet criteria for administration of a COVID-19 vaccination during a hospital encounter.

Primary and specialty care clinics that use Connect Care as the record of care can now order and administer COVID-19 vaccinations in outpatient settings. 

Each clinic will be aware of the specific vaccine type available within the clinic. There are orders available for each of these vaccine types. The clinic workflow is the same (with the same patient informing and consenting norms) as that used for other clinic vaccinations (e.g., influenza vaccine).

Use the order search tool with "covid v" to find these new orderables.

2021-05-28

Referral Management in Connect Care

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

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

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

Clinicians who receive consult requests through informal channels should remind the requesting provider that the desired consult or referral must be entered in Connect Care. The onus rests with the requesting – not the accepting – physician. A simple SmartPhrase can be used to document such reminders.

2021-05-14

CMIO Optimization Support for Connect Care Users

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

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

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

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

2021-05-13

Non-Medical Device Assessments: What Prescribers Need to Know

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

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

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

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

2021-05-12

Mobility Apps Outage - Thursday May 13, 2021, 00:30-04:30

As previously posted, a scheduled upgrade to the Connect Care Mobility apps (Haiku, Canto, Limerick) will occur Thursday May 13, 2021, between 00:30-04:30, in preparation for a general Connect Care upgrade occurring in June. No other Connect Care systems will be affected during this outage, and Hyperspace and other Connect Care systems can be used as usual. 

Users may see an action request to allow the upgrade for each affected mobile device, based on device type. Failure to accept the upgrade will require a manual upgrade before the June Connect Care upgrade in order for the mobility apps to continue interacting with Connect Care servers.

  • iOS, iPadOS and watchOS devices: 
    • Once the mobile app upgrade window begins (00:30 on May 13), iOS devices will get a prompt to upgrade. For devices powered off during the window, iOS devices will receive the prompt to upgrade shortly after power on. 
    • Please accept this prompt to continue to use the Connect Care mobility with the coming June upgrade. 
  • Android devices: Users may need to upgrade the apps manually by re-selecting from the from the Workspace One (vmware airwatch) Catalog.

The PowerMic Mobile dictation application for Dragon Medical One is not affected by these updates. 

In case of difficulties, please contact the AHS Service Desk (1-877-311-4300).

2021-05-11

COVID-19 and Connect Care - Inpatient Vaccination Orders

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

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

Affected clinicians should check new tip and Manual content:

2021-05-10

COVID-19 and Connect Care - Guidance for VITT

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

2021-05-02

Mobility Apps Upgrade (May 13, 2021)

On Thursday May 13, 2021, between 00:30-04:30, the Connect Care Mobility apps (Haiku, Canto, Limerick) will be upgraded in preparation for a general Connect Care upgrade occurring in June. Users may see an action request to allow the upgrade for each affected mobile device, based on device type. Failure to accept the upgrade will require a manual upgrade before the June Connect Care upgrade in order for the mobility apps to continue interacting with Connect Care servers.

  • iOS, iPadOS and watchOS devices: 
    • Once the mobile app upgrade window begins (00:30 on May 13), iOS devices will get a prompt to upgrade. For devices powered off during the window, iOS devices will receive the prompt to upgrade shortly after power on. 
    • Please accept this prompt to continue to use the Connect Care mobility with the coming June upgrade. 
  • Android devices: Users may need to upgrade the apps manually by re-selecting from the from the Workspace One (vmware airwatch) Catalog.

The PowerMic Mobile dictation application for Dragon Medical One is not affected by these updates. 

In case of difficulties, please contact the AHS Service Desk (1-877-311-4300).

2021-05-01

Connect Care Mobility Apps Need Device Operating System Updates

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

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

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

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

2021-04-29

Printing Requisitions in a Paperless Clinical Information System?

One of Connect Care's expected benefits is freedom from paper; and all the associated supply, mail, fax and storage costs. We've made progress! Already by Wave 3, paper-related expenses are dramatically reduced.

Connect Care clinicians may wonder why outpatient laboratory requisitions are printed when the Connect Care clinical information system supports both the clinician requesting a test and the laboratory performing the test.

In time, we hope to dispense with printed lab reqs altogether. However, until all sites have transitioned to  Connect Care, the following considerations can help prescribers ordering outpatient laboratory tests:

  • Labs not using Connect Care
    • Patients can present to any laboratory in Alberta to have samples drawn and tests performed. Some labs may currently use the Connect Care CIS while others may not. 
    • Printed reqs provided to outpatients can be considered a protective for patient choice until all labs use Connect Care.
  • Labs using Connect Care
    • If a patient presents to a laboratory collection site already using the Connect Care CIS, a printed requisition for Connect Care ordered tests is not absolutely necessary. 
    • With the patient's identity confirmed with government issued identification, laboratory staff can check Connect Care for open laboratory test orders.
    • A printed requisition can still be useful because it confirms patient awareness of the tests to be performed at a specific time (note that patients using MyAHS Connect see pending tests in a section called "Upcoming Tests and Procedures").

2021-04-28

Attaching and Sharing Clinical Objects via Connect Care Charts

The Connect Care one-patient-one-record-one-system goal will be achieved when all clinicians participating in a patient's care have access to the same record of care. Until then, clinicians may need to attach external "objects" (e.g., documents, images, scans) from external systems to the Connect Care chart. These, as well as images of clinical findings, can be selected for the attention of other users when linked to communications (In Basket or Secure Chat).

Connect Care users seek tips about how to capture and attach documents or media, then share with colleagues. We have updated relevant sections of the Manual and its links:

2021-04-27

Growing Awareness and Attention for "Mixed-Context" Prescribers

Prescribers who work where the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS) is the record of care and also work in at least one setting where the CIS is not the record of care (inside or outside of AHS facilities supported by paper or electronic medical records) are said to be working in a "mixed context". Connect Care's Wave 3 launch has brought more mixed-context providers to the CIS, with impacts on how results or reports ("results") may route to their non-Connect Care contexts. 

A detailed explanation of changes to result routing (lab and DI results) is available in Result Routing for Mixed-Context Prescribers. Additional resources related to result routing are available in the Clinician Manual sections on Mixed Contexts and Results Management

Routing of reports and communications (consultations, letters, etc.) is also impacted. Regardless of where a patient is seen (Connect Care or non-Connect Care context), some messages must route to the CIS In Basket for all Connect Care users. This lowers the risk of a privacy breach and allows reports to be correctly directed to the correct provider, even when the report does not contain information identifying a precise routing destination. 

All users with Connect Care CIS access will need to regularly monitor their In Basket for tasks, communications, results or reports that pertain to their work within Connect Care contexts, as well as for the same related to patients seen where Connect Care is not the record of care. Connect Care can be personalized to support email alerts, out of contact and other functions to help prescribers know when new In Basket content is ready for review, or to delegate some In Basket tasks to others (see Manual: Mixed Contexts).

Result and/or report routing to In Basket may not be ideal for some providers. A working group is working on further solutions to improve the routing of important messages and reports to a prescriber's preferred system. Additionally, new mitigations for mixed-context prescribers and their clinics are being created.  

In Basket is a core function of Connect Care. If a prescriber uses Connect Care in any capacity, regular In Basket review and management is required. 

2021-04-26

Digital Dictation Optimization Sessions

Please join the digital dictation team to explore advanced Dragon Medical One functions that are available in Connect Care. 

These Zoom-delivered optimization sessions will include:

  • Step-by-step commands
  • Autotext vs. SmartPhrases
  • Manage vocabulary 
  • Anchor and release speech focus
  • Bring your questions and let us know what you’d like help with!

To register for a session on one of the dates below, click the relevant link:

More information:

2021-04-25

Using RAAPID for Interfacility Transfers

Connect Care supports for the “Referral, Access, Advice, Placement, Information & Destination" (RAAPID) service facilitate prescriber actions for patients who may need transfer between sites or consultative advice about care at a current site. 

Use of RAAPID to coordinate interfacility transfers (IFTs) is not mandatory, but use of Connect Care functions is strongly encouraged as it helps to automate workflows and increase visibility for the transfers within the system. Specific circumstances under which prescribers should consider using RAAPID-specific workflows include:

  • Transfers to a higher level of care
    Consultation with a potentially receiving consultant is initiated with a RAAPID call. 
  • Transfers to a lower level of care
    Arrangements are facilitated by a "RAAPID Repatriation" order entered into Connect Care. 
  • Transfers for emergency care
    All ED to ED transfers must involve RAAPID. 

The benefits of using Connect Care with RAAPID include:

  • A pending admission at the receiving site is automatically generated, setting up the patient for immediate arrival and access to the Connect Care chart. 
  • RAAPID can send documents to involved providers, allowing for information transfer between care locations and seamless patient transitions.
  • RAAPID can document the patient’s transportation needs and arrangements (i.e., EMS) together with estimated arrival time, allowing the receiving site to better prepare.
  • From the RAAPID Patient Lists in Connect Care, all clinicians (e.g., Bed Planning, Managers, Charge Nurses) can track the progress details of a patient transfer, including physician acceptance, bed availability and patient appropriateness at/for the receiving site.

Further information about IFT workflows using RAAPID is available in the Clinician Manual.

2021-04-24

Results Management for Emergency Departments

A number of prescribers spend at least some time contributing to emergency department (ED) services, where department-specific test result routing considerations may apply. These are summarized in a new section of the Connect Care Clinician Manual, with links to practical details in process and tip documents.

2021-04-22

COVID-19 and Connect Care - Testing for VITT

Vaccine-Induced Immune Thrombotic Thrombocytopenia (VITT) is an extraordinarily rare hematologic complication associated with COVID-19 vaccination. Symptoms may include persistent and severe headache, focal neurological findings, seizures, blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest or abdominal pain, swelling and redness in a limb or pallor and coldness in a limb. Onset may occur between 4-28 days after immunization (first or second vaccine). Laboratory findings may include thrombocytopenia, elevated D-dimer or imaging evidence of thrombosis.

In general, suspected VITT should be referred to a consulting Hematologist or Thrombosis physician who will oversee collection of required specimens in appropriate tubes, complete special laboratory requisitions and communicate with relevant reference laboratories. The consultant will take care of Connect Care orders (or will give the requesting physician specific instructions about which tests to order and how). 

In sum, the important action for Connect Care prescribers is to order a Hematology consult and speak directly with the consultant.

2021-04-21

All Prescriber Bulletin - COVID-19 Vaccination Records

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

Documenting COVID-19 Immunizations in Connect Care

We've previously posted about how provincial immunization information systems interface to Connect Care, where the health record includes a patient's immunization history. 

There can be gaps. Patients may receive vaccinations at clinics, offices or other provinces that do not send data to Alberta's provincial records. In addition, if Connect Care does not yet have an order for a new vaccine (as is the case for COVID-19 for a period of time), documentation is not automatic.

Prescribers can use a simple manual process to record past patient vaccinations that have not been captured in Connect Care (be careful to work from an official record of administration, select the correct COVID-19 vaccine type, and note that in-hospital vaccination events will be independently recorded by vaccination staff):

2021-04-20

Connect Care Mobility - Managing Expectations

Connect Care mobility continues to prove very popular with prescribers. As with Waves 1 and 2, uptake of speech recognition (Dragon Medical One for in-system dictation) has been almost instantaneous in Wave 3. Mobile applications that provide access to the health record (Haiku for smartphones and Canto for iPads) have also enjoyed rapid adoption.

While the enthusiasm is great, a bit of expectation management might be timely. 

We've posted some updates to the Manual, FAQs and Tips to remind about care needed when prescribers with multiple jobs use mobile apps, limits to the number of lab results accessible via mobile apps, and important differences between what the iOS and Android versions of Haiku are capable of:

2021-04-19

Connect Care's Wave 1 Wins Health Quality Award

We are pleased to learn that Connect Care’s Wave 1 Implementation is the 2021 recipient of the Canadian College of Health Leaders’ 3M Health Care Quality Team Awards (Across A Health System). 

Connect Care had a successful first launch on November 3, 2019 at sites including the University of Alberta Hospital (UAH), Stollery Children’s Hospital, Kaye Edmonton Clinic, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, over 500 outpatient clinics across Edmonton Zone, the East Edmonton Health Centre, pharmacy, lab and diagnostic imaging at UAH and the Cross Cancer Institute and DynaLIFE sites across Alberta.

This award recognizes the effort and dedication of the more than 22,000 frontline staff, including 3,000 physicians, who paved the way for Connect Care’s continuing success. 

2021-04-18

Virtual Drop-in Centre Hours

With the first full week of Connect Care at the Wave 3 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 Monday, April 19, 2021, the Virtual Drop-in Centre will be open 07:30-23:00. 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.

2021-04-17

All Prescriber Bulletin - Med Order Start Times

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

Take note of Medication Order Start Times

If an inpatient medication order is entered without an explicit start time, the default (standardized medication administration time, SMAT) can lead to unintended first dose timing, and possibly additional dose administration. 

The default when ordering an ongoing medication (e.g., furosemide 40 mg po daily) is for "As Scheduled" dose timing, which results in the first dose being given at a default time (e.g., 08:00, depending upon the medication). This works well most of the time. However, if an independent dose is ordered and given just before the continuing medication order, the clinician may want to explicitly set the "Starting" time to avoid two doses close together. This, of course, depends on intent.


Universal best practice: Take note of the starting time and the resulting anticipated initial schedule of dose times to confirm that this fits clinical need. 

2021-04-16

On Other Channels...

Thank you for continuing to check (...ideally, subscribe to multiple channels; see instructions) the Connect Care Update blog for prescribers. Recent additions to this blog and its various channels:

2021-04-15

Admitting, Attending or Authorizing?

As Connect Care spreads, inpatient services new to digital workflows adapt processes for ensuring that provider-patient attachments are clear, current and validated. Distinctions between new uses of "admitting", "authorizing", "attending" and other names for accountable prescribers may not be obvious. 

The primary prescriber attachment for inpatients is the "Attending" prescriber (synonymous with "Most Responsible Healthcare Provider"). Each facility will need to firm-up processes for ensuring that this attending designation is updated as clinicians handover responsibilities from on-call, cross-coverage or rotation assignments. 

Support staff usually do this when patients move to and from wards. Prescribers participate by keeping a close eye on their patient and team patient lists, and being ready to adjust attending accountabilities as needed.