May 28, 2022
EDMONTON — Alberta Health Services (AHS) today completed its largest launch of Connect Care to date, adding more than 23,000 staff and physicians at 57 sites in the Edmonton and Calgary areas to the provincial clinical information system.
Launch 4 involved Royal Alexandra Hospital and Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton, and the Alberta Children’s Hospital and Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary Zone. Also in Launch 4 are Calgary Zone rural and urgent care sites and the clinics and services aligned with them, the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatric Centre, Central Production Pharmacy, addiction and mental health facilities in the Edmonton Zone, and all AHS labs in the Edmonton Zone that have not already implemented Connect Care.
“Connect Care is transforming how patient information flows between patients and their healthcare providers. When complete, we will have a central access point for current and accurate patient information across AHS,” says Mauro Chies, AHS Interim President and CEO. “Ultimately, Connect Care will help us ensure high-quality care is being delivered in the same way no matter where you are in Alberta. It will let us record and share our patients’ health information with them and their healthcare teams, supporting better health for every Alberta in our care.”
“We have safeguards and protocols in place to protect patients and ensure the care we provide is never compromised, including our standard practice of reducing some surgical activity at our launching sites for the transition period,” says Dr. Francois Belanger, Vice President Quality and Chief Medical Officer at AHS. “Over the launch, AHS staff may take extra time to complete their charting and other tasks as they see patients, and we appreciate the patience of the public while we undertake this important improvement.”
There was no significant patient impact reported as teams at these sites transitioned to the new information system. The cutover to the new system occurred at 5:00 a.m.
Connect Care is a new way of using and sharing health information to improve patient care wherever AHS, its subsidiaries and partners provide care. Eventually, a patient’s AHS health information will be accessible from any AHS location in the province supporting the patient through their care journey.
Connect Care will give healthcare teams a more complete picture of their patients’ health history, provide resources at a healthcare provider’s fingertips with access to consistent clinical information and best practices, and will allow healthcare teams to communicate with their patients and each other more easily.
“I would like to congratulate AHS on another successful launch of the Connect Care system, which benefits not just our frontline healthcare providers, but allows patients to play a greater role in their care,” said Health Minister Jason Copping.
If Albertans have visited a site where Connect Care is in place, they can sign up for access to MyAHS Connect, Connect Care’s online patient portal, to see their health information, test results and medications; manage appointments; and communicate securely with their healthcare team.
With Launch 4 there are now more than 50,000 staff, physicians and other healthcare providers using Connect Care to provide care for patients in North, Edmonton, and Calgary zones. There are also more than 100,000 patients using the MyAHS Connect patient portal into Connect Care to manage their health.
There are nine Connect Care launches, which started November 2019 and will continue to the final implementation in fall 2024. When fully in place, 150,000 staff and physicians will be using Connect Care at 682 sites across Alberta.
“We are grateful to our patients, physicians, nurses, midwives, other frontline staff, technical teams and patient family advisors who have been instrumental in building the system, preparing for and implementing the launch. Your commitment to improving the healthcare of Albertans in evident,” says Sean Chilton, AHS Vice President, People, Health Professions and Information Technology.
Dr. Belanger points out sites and programs involved in previous launches were able to use Connect Care to support COVID-19 care as pandemic demands increased.
“It was adapted to meet the needs of staff and patients, including adding information to the system for telephone and virtual visits to Connect Care, helping patients access virtual visits with their care providers, adding travel screening and COVID-19 diagnosis to patient charts, and other key elements to support the pandemic response,” Dr. Belanger says.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.