2021-01-31

Orders for Recurring Outpatient Therapies in Connect Care

Community prescribers who have Alberta Health Services (AHS) clinical privileges may refer patients into AHS Medical Outpatient Units (MOUs) or Emergency Departments (in smaller centres) for recurring therapies such as iron infusions, antimicrobials, blood products, etc. 

Once Connect Care goes live at a site and becomes the legal record of care, all orders for patient care must be entered into the Connect Care clinical information system, and only prescribers who are trained in the system can be selected as Authorizing Providers for orders. This has implications for sites anticipating Connect Care launch.

As a site prepares to launch Connect Care, existing (standing) paper orders for treatments that will be administered in MOUs or Emergency Departments must be entered into the system prior to each Connect Care launch wave. This ensures the orders can be activated when the patients arrive post-launch for their appointments. A single Connect Care Authorizing Provider must be designated for each therapy plan. Sites are encouraged to establish an approach for managing standing orders on which the ordering prescriber has not completed Connect Care training or does not have AHS clinical privileges. 

Recognizing possible practice variation from facility to facility and zone to zone, the Chief Medical Information Office (CMIO) is working with zone clinical leadership to implement an appropriate workflow to accommodate community prescribers who cannot be selected as Authorizing Providers during launch preparations. For more information, please see the below resources:

2021-01-26

Webinar 2: Release of Lab Results to Patients - What This Means to Your Practice

As previously posted, all Albertans will soon have access to more lab results released in real time via MyHealth Records. Alberta Health Services and the Alberta Medical Association are co-hosting webinars to explore the implications of this change for prescribers. 

Real time release of labs to patients: What this means to your practice.

This 1-hour webinar will consider implications for physicians and their patients of the release of 95% (by volume) of laboratory test results to patients via MyHealth Records starting February 5, 2021. The interactive session is open to physicians, nurse practitioners and medical office support staff, and includes primary care, acute care and oncology perspectives as well as input from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.  

Presenters: Dr. Allen Ausford, Dr. Brad Bahler, Dr. Rob Hayward, Dr. Jay Easaw, Dr. Ewan Affleck
Moderators: Dr. Stuart Rosser 

Objectives: 
  • Consider possible impacts of real-time results release for patients and the clinician's role in pre-test counselling. 
  • Share strategies for managing potential implications for office, clinic and hospital workflows.
To register: 
For more information about laboratory result release via portals:

2021-01-24

Trainee Bulletin - Select Authorizing Provider when Ordering for Consulting Services

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

Specifying an Authorizing Provider for Consulting Services

Prescriber trainees, including medical students, residents and fellows, are supervised by fully licensed “authorizing” prescribers. Unequivocal identification of the authorizing provider ensures that critical and late-reporting results are appropriately routed. 

A previous post outlines how authorizing provider identification is automated most of the time. 

Orders placed by services consulting in emergency (ED) or inpatient (IP) departments remain at risk for misdirection if trainees do not take care to explicitly identify the authorizing prescriber at the time of ordering. We experience ongoing issues with specialized tests returning to In Baskets of ED and IP physicians who did not order the test or take responsibility for follow-up. 

Fortunately, the process that trainees must use for specifying an appropriate consultant authorizing provider at the time of test ordering is straightforward, highlighted in the following:

2021-01-21

Connect Care Access to Calgary Historic Patient Data

Connect Care enables read-only access to external clinical information systems from within Hyperspace via an "Other Clinical Systems" section of the patient storyboard (left column of any open patient chart). Hovering reveals a pop-up listing linked external systems. Selecting a system's link opens a read-only viewer as an activity tab within the patient chart. 



Access to "Calgary Historic Patient Data" via a new embedded viewer is set to appear in Connect Care on January 21, 2021. More information is available in the Connect Care Manual:

2021-01-20

Great Time for Prescribers to Power-Up

A Power User is a clinician who uses Connect Care tools optimally. Physician Power User classes promote use of personalizations to improve users’ individual efficiency in ways that can be easily shared with colleagues. Training covers more than 140 tips and tricks for getting the most out of the Connect Care experience. 

The Power User training and qualification can be pursued by any physician wishing to get more out of Connect Care for themselves and their colleagues. Online courses are offered by Epic through self-directed online learning and webinars. 

Clinical departments and divisions may want to grow their Power User capacity, as this can boost quality improvement, clinical efficiency, physician satisfaction and other objectives.

2021-01-19

New Norms - Closed Loop Referral Management

Closed loop referral management is key to Alberta Health Services’ commitment to safe and effective referral processes for patients, their families and healthcare providers. Now that Connect Care is better established in launched clinics, it is important to clarify our expectations of one another when referring patients for health services.

Where effective change is a shared accountability, a clear statement of "norms" can be helpful. Information, Communication, Documentation, Ordering and Minimum Use norms already guide Connect Care users. 

Recognizing how much referrals depend upon coordinated workflows, we have recently drafted and released "Referral Norms" at the request of the Connect Care Executive Committee... and urge Connect Care community members to work together to assure closed loop referral management.

2021-01-18

Webinar: Release of Lab Results to Patients - What This Means to Your Practice

As previously posted, all Albertans will soon have access to more lab results released in real time via MyHealth Records. The Alberta Medical Association and Alberta Health Services are co-hosting webinars to explore the implications of this change for prescribers. 

Real time release of labs to patients: What this means to your practice.

This 1-hour webinar will consider implications for physicians and their patients of the release of 95% (by volume) of laboratory test results to patients via MyHealth Records starting February 5, 2021. The interactive session is open to physicians, nurse practitioners and medical office support staff, and includes primary care, acute care and oncology perspectives as well as input from the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta.  

Presenters: Dr. Allen Ausford, Dr. Brad Bahler, Dr. Jay Easaw, Dr. Rob Hayward, Dr. Ewan Affleck
Moderators: Dr. Heidi Fell, Dr. Stuart Rosser 

Objectives: 
  • Consider possible impacts of real-time results release for patients and the clinician's role in pre-test counselling. 
  • Share strategies for managing potential implications for office, clinic and hospital workflows.
To register: 
For more information about laboratory result release via portals:

2021-01-14

COVID-19 and Connect Care - Accessing Public Health Act Forms

We continue to develop a section of the Connect Care Clinician Manual that focuses on workflows supporting care of patients with COVID-19 related illness.

Sometimes physicians need to comply with provisions of the Public Health Act relating to mandatory isolation or testing of non-compliant patients with active COVID-19. Workflows relating to the Mental Health Act are already in place and equivalent orders and flags for COVID-19 public health directives will be available soon.

Until the new orders make it to production, note that the Manual (available in Connect Care from the F1 key or help menu) provides links to instructions and forms:

2021-01-13

It's Official: North Zone Associate Chief Medical Information Officer, Dr. Marc Shaw

Dr. Marc Shaw, ACMIO, North Zone

We are pleased to announce that Dr. Marc Shaw will continue as Associate Chief Medical Information Officer (ACMIO) for Alberta Health Services (AHS) North Zone. Marc has been capably filling this role on an interim basis since September, and it is so nice to make it official.  

Marc has been part of the CMIO office since 2018. His contributions to Connect Care are significant: Provincial Physician Trainer, Surgery, Physician Master Builder, Area Trainer and Super User, Surgery for Wave 1/2. He provided valuable, on-site support for our Wave 1 and 2 Connect Care launches. 

Marc earned his MD at the University of Ottawa and completed his General Surgery Residency at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He is pursuing a Health Informatics certificate through Johns Hopkins University. 

Marc has practiced in Grande Prairie since 2006, and is a general surgeon with a special interest in oncoplastic breast cancer surgery. Marc is also an Assistant Clinical Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta, and was awarded a Certificate of Teaching Excellence from Family Medicine Residents.  He also enjoys racing cars, hiking, and rowing. 


2021-01-12

MyHealth Records: More Lab Results Released to Patients via My Personal Records

The following information is provided by Alberta Health respecting some important changes to the My Health Records service:


In 2021, Albertans will be able to view more laboratory test results in "My Health Records" (MHR), the integrated access point for Albertans’ personal health information. These lab results will be viewable through the "My Personal Records" (MPR) application. This change is being made to provide Albertans with more access to their health information, and as an additional safety net for patient care within the system. These results will be viewable as soon as they are released by laboratory services:

  • About 95% of the most commonly-ordered (by volume) lab test results will be viewable by Feb 1, 2021. 
  • All remaining lab tests, including more complex results in microbiology, pathology and genetics, will be available in MPR by July 1, 2021.

Lab results ordered from all sites in Alberta, including labs ordered during inpatient and emergency visits will be included in MPR. Once the changes are in place, new users will see an 18-month retrospective view of any lab results slated for release. Existing users will not have labs added retroactively, but they will be able to see the expanded lab results moving forward. 

After the changes, patients will have immediate access to more of their own information. Providers may notice some changes in their patterns of work, and may need to consider giving patients more information about the implications of different results when initially ordering a test. Physicians and other providers will continue to have access to results information through their usual channels, including Alberta Netcare.

To support Albertans, Alberta has created the MyHealth.Alberta.ca Web site, a trusted source of health information, and MyHealth Records Support is available at 1-844-401-4016, 24 hours daily. Technical assistance is available between 8:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (MT), Monday to Friday, but a connection to 811 for health-related inquiries, including test results, is available at all times.

For more information about lab results online, please visit:

The Alberta Medical Association and Alberta Health Services will be hosting webinars for providers: 

Webinar: Real Time Release of Labs to Patients: What This Means to Your Practice
Speakers: Dr. Allen Ausford, Dr. Brad Bahler, Dr. Jay Easaw, Dr. Rob Hayward, Dr. Nigel Flook

Date: Wednesday January 20, 2021
Time: 12:00 PM

Moderator: Dr. Heidi Fell, Informatics Chair, Alberta Medical Association
Register: https://albertadoctors.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEuduqqqjgsGtDTMnZy0HftCmbufOJQlxft

Date: Wednesday January 27, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM

Moderator: Dr. Stuart Rosser, Interim Chief Medical Information Officer, Alberta Health Services
Register: http://ahs-cis.ca/mhrwebinar   


Connect Care Scheduled Downtime - Thursday January 14, 2021, 00:30-04:30

The Connect Care clinical information system needs periodic maintenance. The next scheduled update will occur Thursday January 14, 2021 in the early morning hours (after midnight) between 00:30 and 04:30. On this occasion, Hyperspace, Transfusion (WellSky), Content (Quanum), Dictation (Dragon Medical One), MyAHS Connect and the Link Provider Portal systems are all affected. 

This downtime window will be used to update Connect Care mobility apps (Haiku, Canto) and the Workspace ONE application that AHS uses to manage clinical mobile applications. Haiku and Canto will be unavailable for a period between 00:30 and 08:30. PowerMic Mobile, the dictation application for Dragon Medical One, should be unaffected. It is important for device owners to keep their mobile devices on during the night to allow for the upgrade to download and complete on time.

While Hyperspace PRD is offline, the "North BCA Web" service is available to access patient information. In addition, Netcare remains available.

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

Additional instruction remains available in the Connect Care Manual:

Wave 3 Training Update

AHS leadership recently announced that Connect Care Wave 3 will now launch in North Zone in former Peace Country Health Region, Fort Vermilion, High Level and La Crete on April 10, 2021. 

Connect Care prescriber training in the North Zone has been rescheduled and new registration dates are now open. Once Wave 3 prescribers register for the new rescheduled Wave 3 classes, they will receive new calendar invitations with the updated information.

Please delete any original calendar invitations if registered in those classes before January 5, 2021. The older invitations will not work for the rescheduled classes, and they cannot be remotely removed from calendars.


2021-01-11

Connect Care Wave 3 Countdown

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

After some COVID-19 adjustments, the Connect Care launch schedule resumes with the Wave 3 launch date set for early hours of the morning of Saturday April 10, 2021. This will bring the following sites into the Connect Care fold:
  • Peace Country Health Region
  • Fort Vermilion
  • High Level
  • La Crete
We are within 90 days from the Wave 3 launch.

Having learned how important it is to avoid a last minute rush, our Countdown Checklist (checklist.connect-care.ca) restarts for Wave 3. This allows physicians to ensure that requirements are met as they progress from registration through training, proficiency, personalization and launch-readiness.

2021-01-08

All User Bulletin - Immunization Records and Connect Care

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

Immunization Records and Connect Care

Immunization data for provincially funded and privately purchased vaccines are recorded in the provincial immunization repository called "ImmARI" (Immunization and Adverse Reaction to Immunization). Authorized healthcare workers use a web app called "IDSM" (Immunization Direct Submission Mechanism) to submit immunization information to ImmARI. 

A letter from Alberta Health was recently sent to some healthcare providers stating that all immunization records need to be entered into ImmARI or IDSM. 

For prescribers who use Connect Care, use of ImmARI or IDSM is not required. Immunization orders for administration of immunizations automatically trigger documentation uploaded to ImmARI – no additional steps are required. 

Questions can be directed to: Health.Imm@gov.ab.ca.

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:

2021-01-04

Connect Care - Change in Timing for Wave 3



The impact of COVID-19 on our health system has been carefully evaluated and a decision made to change the timing and scope of upcoming Connect Care launch waves. Given the increasing demands of COVID-19 on frontline staff, physicians, programs and services, it is prudent to delay the next wave of Connect Care, originally scheduled for February 2021. 

Wave 3 of Connect Care will launch in two parts: 
  1. The portion planned for North Zone will launch April 10, 2021
  2. The Calgary Zone portion will be further reviewed in consultation with zone leaders and teams. 
AHS remains committed to keeping the full Connect Care implementation within the originally-planned timeframe. Dates for future launches will be communicated as pandemic adjustments are firmed up. 

Despite the change in Wave timing, the bulk of Connect Care preparations continue, including:
  • Infrastructure and technology work, including WIFI upgrades, facility preparations, and device deployment and testing
  • Continued support for Waves 1 and 2 to aid the stabilization of those sites and programs
  • Building and validation work for Waves 3-7
  • Building and preparing training support, leadership teams and other roles necessary for upcoming launches.