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Policy update: Medial Assistance in Dying (MAID)

August 29, 2018

The Medical Assistance in Dying policy underwent a scheduled review after the first year in practice and found only minimal changes were needed to improve clarity on practice and process. Clarity changes include:

  • Updated language
  • Steps to obtain and document patient’s informed consent
  • Reporting to Medical Examiner’s Office and/or MAID Regulatory Review Committee
  • Qualifications of physicians and nurse practitioners providing assessments or provisions in AHS settings.

To learn more, please see the policy or see the education and support materials.

Restraint as a last resort resources for physicians

July 6, 2018

Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) Restraint as a Last Resort policy suite provides direction on the use of mechanical, pharmacologic, environmental and physical restraint. Except in emergencies, restraint will only be used when all other strategies have been deemed ineffective or inappropriate, and after an informed consent discussion with the patient, family and/or alternate decision-maker. The policy supports a balance between the safety of the patient and others, and the patient’s personal liberty.

A toolkit was developed to help physicians and staff understand and implement the policy. Physician-specific resources include:

Printable resources are available on MyHealth.Alberta to support informed consent discussions between the most-responsible health practitioner and families.

If you have any questions about the policy, email policy@ahs.ca.

AHS Physician Workforce Plan & Forecast now available

May 8, 2017

Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) 2017–18 Physician Workforce Plan & Forecast is now available. This report is intended to help AHS understand its current physician workforce, and give a picture of future needs. This is the second report of its kind, and was developed in partnership with AHS representatives in each zone work closely with physician medical leaders. It includes forecasts over a ten-year horizon for specialists, and over a three-year horizon for family physicians.

The report highlights that Alberta is a place where there are opportunities for doctors, and also highlights that deliberate recruitment planning is part of health system stewardship and ensuring that AHS and its physician workforce meet the needs of Alberta in the years ahead. Want to learn more? View the report and appendices.

Feedback wanted: AHS Glycemic Management Policy Suite 

March 3, 2018

The Glycemic Management Policy and Procedures for Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia Management came into effect on September 1, 2017.

The Diabetes, Obesity and Nutrition Strategic Clinical Network is seeking feedback regarding the implementation and use of its Glycemic Management Policy and Procedures for Hypoglycemia and Hyperglycemia Management. Please take a few minutes to complete a short survey. This survey is open until May 31, 2018.

These governance documents came into effect Sept. 1, 2018 to ensure the needs of patients and staff in your area(s) are being addressed. Your feedback also helps us ensure that the documents’ contents are appropriate and support patients to achieve their glycemic targets in an acute care setting.

See the AHS Glycemic Management Policy suite to learn more. Questions? leta.philp@ahs.ca or glenda.moore@ahs.ca.

New and improved MyLearningLink website

April 18, 2018

MyLearningLink now has a new and improved look and feel. Physicians can now access the latest online courses and learning opportunities on mobile devices as well as popular web browsers like Internet Explorer 11, Chrome, Safari and Firefox. The ‘Mobile Ready’ column highlights courses which can be taken via mobile device.

AHS Medical Staff can access the site by visiting www.my.ahs.ca and logging in using their AHS login credentials. Most physicians currently have AHS login credentials to access AHS intranet and email. Contact provmaprofdevelopment@ahs.ca to retrieve or request your AHS login information.

Questions? Comments? Contact helpmylearninglink@ahs.ca.

Continuity benefits increase with the degree of continuity

April 11, 2018

Evidence shows that continuity of care has many benefits that are important to patients, providers and the ‘system’; however some of these benefits vary depending on the degree of continuity – how consistently a patient sees the same team of primary care providers. In an Alberta Health Services webinar Alberta data shows that risk of hospitalization, length of hospital stay and cost to the health care system is significantly lower when patients have a high degree of continuity. See the full webinar to learn more.

Surgery SCN offers $10,000 SEED grants for 2018-2019 funding cycle

April 11, 2018

The Surgery SCN’s SEED Grant Award Program for 2018-19 is now open. This program offers pilot funding of $10,000 per project for a total of $30,000 to support research projects which aim to improve value, efficiency, or quality of surgical care in Alberta through health services research and innovation. We welcome applications from a broad range of academic disciplines including but not limited to surgery, anesthesiology, gynecology, oncology, rehabilitation medicine and public health and AHS operations. The Surgery SCN is also hosting a Grant Writing workshop on April 20th. Register today.

The deadline for applications is May 7, 2018. For more information, see the Program Guide and Application Template.

AHS Diversity and Inclusion Census

April 3, 2018

In May 2018, AHS will conduct a Diversity and Inclusion census to understand the diversity of our workforce and the level of inclusion felt within the organization. The census helps paint a picture of who we are and if you feel included in your workplace. The census is voluntary and anonymous, and you only have to complete questions you feel comfortable answering. AHS physicians will receive an invitation to participate in the survey via email.

Want to learn more? See the leader talking points and FAQ to learn more.

Routine Laboratory Bulletins

March 29, 2018 

Routine Laboratory Bulletins are now posted regularly on the AHS external website, visit Laboratory Bulletins. Here, you will important and helpful information regarding proper sample collection and submission, test ordering, test interpretation, algorithms, new tests and tests which are being discontinued. Urgent Laboratory Bulletins are issued as needed to communicate unexpected, or unplanned changes for laboratory users. Physicians should visit this page regularly for new information and updates.

You can also visit Laboratory Services (www.ahs.ca/lab) on the AHS external website, for additional laboratory services information and resources. In early spring 2018, new expanded online test directories will be available, providing searchable, detailed test information including collection and transportation.

Comments? Questions? Please contact Laboratory Services by email labclientservices@ahs.ca or by calling 1-877-868-6848.

Improved support for DynaMed users

March 19, 2018

Beginning April 2, 2018, the DynaMed clinical decision tool will become DynaMedPlus. Physicians who currently use DynaMed to help with point of care decision with their patients will continue to be able to access the resource in exactly the same way, including via the mobile app. The change to DynaMedPlus will offer new tools in addition to what you’re used to. Questions about using DynaMedPlus? Check out the FAQ or the AHS Knowledge Resource Service website.

Point of Care tools like this will be integrated with ConnectCare as it starts rolling out in fall 2019.

eReferral Advice Request available for two more new specialties

March 1, 2018

As of February 16, 2018, Alberta Netcare users can request advice through eReferral from Calgary Zone General Internal Medicine and Provincially Addiction and Mental Health for Opiate Agonist Therapy. For a complete list of receiving specialties please see the eReferral advice request list of specialties or, when you are selecting a reason for referral in Netcare, browse for available advice specialty options.

With a response within 5 calendar days, this secure, traceable communication allows users to attach labs and imaging directly from Alberta Netcare. Users may request advice for non-urgent questions, and both referring and advising physicians may bill their time using eConsult codes. Physicians should seek the advice for non-urgent patient situations when:

- it is unclear if a referral would be appropriate
- management advice is required

Training materials, including a quick reference, are available in the Alberta Netcare Learning Centre. Visit http://www.albertanetcare.ca/eReferral.htm to learn more.

RLS Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) event-specific reporting form now available

February 21, 2018

The Reporting and Learning System for Patient Safety (RLS) has added a new Venous Thromboembolism (VTE) event-specific reporting form. Please use this form when submitting reports of VTE hazards, close calls and adverse events.

Physicians are ideally positioned to identify and report VTE-related events as the Most Responsible Practitioner for the majority of patients.

Examples of problems that can be submitted on the VTE form include, but are not limited to:

  • VTE risk assessment: Not performed at the time of admission, time of transfer or discharge. Incomplete or wrong information on VTE assessment. Not reassessed with significant change in clinical status or change in length of stay.
  • VTE signs and symptoms
  • Thromboprophylaxis: Not ordered when indicated, wrong prophylaxis for patient condition, bleeding risk and/or VTE risk. Prophylaxis ordered but not performed.
  • Bleeding event while patient on prophylaxis.
  • Suspected or Confirmed hospital acquired VTE
  • Monitoring: Inadequate, lab work not ordered, not performed or ordered incorrectly.

Submit a report online or by calling 1-877-338-3854.

Learn more about RLS.

Central Patient Attachment Registry: LPR starts soon

January 1, 2018  

The Central Patient Attachment Registry (CPAR) limited production roll-out begins in April. It is a key technical enabler for better continuity of care for Albertans.

CPAR is a centralized database that captures the attachment of primary care physicians and nurse practitioners and their paneled patients. CPAR is a key technical enabler for better continuity of care for Albertans by facilitating improved relational and informational continuity and data for health care planning. CPAR is an important step in improving patient care. A limited production roll-out will begin shortly by invitation only. Select clinics from three PCNs have been invited to participate. These clinics were selected as they have robust panel management processes in place, meet the readiness criteria, share borders and will provide feedback. The LPR will validate the technical and people approach to the registry.

All PCNs and clinics are encouraged to establish their panel processes to be ready when CPAR launches more broadly later this spring. Seeing the same family doctor consistently is an important contributor to improved patient care. Some of the benefits of relational continuity include improved preventive care, improved health, reduced mortality, improved overall care quality, increased satisfaction and improved self-management.  For more information or to see whether you’re ready to participate, please visit the CPAR webpage.

Normal Saline and Dextrose Mini-Bag Shortage

October 27, 2017

AHS is currently managing a global shortage of sodium chlorine (saline) and dextrose mini-bags, which are used to dilute medications. Conservation strategies must be implemented both by nursing and Pharmacy Services staff, in collaboration with prescribers.

Baxter, one of the largest mini-bag producers, has reported a major production issue due to a hurricane that hit its Puerto Rico production facility last month. The length of the shortage is unknown. Other mini-bag manufacturers cannot supply sufficient stock to meet market demands in Canada.

Consult the medication alert, IV to Oral (PO) Dose Conversion Chart, Clinical Practice Update and IV Direct Quick Reference Guide for more information.

Mental Health Review Panel Roster

July 31, 2017

Alberta Health is recruiting for physician psychiatrist and public members to serve on the Mental Health Review Panel Roster starting in spring 2018. The roster is an adjudicative body that considers applications pertaining to: cancellation of admission and renewal certificates for patients detained in designated facilities; return of a patient to a correctional facility after treatment; cancellation of community treatment orders; patient competence to make treatment decisions; and administration of treatment to patients who object to it under the Mental Health Act. Apply by September 10.

Physician posting | Psychiatrist posting | Public posting

For more information, visit http://www.health.alberta.ca/newsroom/mental-health-act-panels.html

Opioid Advice

August 8, 2017

Primary care physicians caring for patients with opioid dependency will soon have access to expert consultation with an opioid dependency physician specialist over the phone.

Beginning Aug. 8, 2017, Physicians north or Red Deer can access the service by calling RAAPID North at 1-800-282-9911 or 1-780-735-0400. Physicians in and south of Red Deer can call RAAPID South at 1-800-661-1700 or 403-944-4488.

This telephone consult service is for primary care physicians seeking timely advice regarding prescribing drugs like buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) or methadone, as well as treating patients with existing opioid dependency.

Opioid dependence is a growing clinical and public health problem throughout Canada, including our province. This new service for physicians will allow more patients with opioid dependence to be treated in primary care settings.

For more information, visit www.ahs.ca/opioidadvice

Physicians north of Red Deer can access RAAPID

July 21, 2017

Primary care physicians caring for patients with opioid dependency will soon have access to expert consultation with an opioid dependency physician specialist over the phone.

Beginning Aug. 8, 2017, Physicians north ofRed Deer can access the service by calling RAAPID North at 1-800-282-9911 or 1-780-735-0400. Physicians in and south of Red Deer can call RAAPID South at 1-800-661-1700 or 403-944-4488.

This telephone consult service is for primary care physicians seeking timely advice regarding prescribing drugs like buprenorphine/naloxone (Suboxone®) or methadone, as well as treating patients with existing opioid dependency.

Opioid dependence is a growing clinical and public health problem throughout Canada, including our province. This new service for physicians will allow more patients with opioid dependence to be treated in primary care settings.

For more information, visit www.ahs.ca/opioidadvice

Emergent Drug Shortage - Sodium Bicarbonate Injections

June 22, 2017

Emergent Drug Shortage - Sodium Bicarbonate Injections – Like other jurisdictions in North America, AHS is dealing with a global shortage of sodium bicarbonate injection. Sodium bicarbonate is used in critical care and other urgent clinical areas. It is commonly used in life-threatening situations when the blood becomes too acidic. The shortage began in September 2016 in the United States and is now affecting Canada.

AHS is conserving the drug for use in critical situations, has mitigation strategies in place to ensure a supply for critical uses and has activated the Emergency Coordination Centre to support the situation.

Sodium bicarbonate stocks have been pulled from most clinical areas, with the exception of Critical Care, Emergency Departments, Operating Rooms and Code Carts. Orders will not be processed by site pharmacy services without direct discussion with the attending physician. See the information sheet for more information regarding conservation measures.

Public updates are also available on the www.ahs.ca/sodiumbicarbonate

Out-of-Country Health Services Appeal Panel

May 21, 2017

Out-of-Country Health Services Appeal Panel – Are you a socially conscious, energetic and dedicated physician? Are you looking for a new and exciting opportunity that adds value to Alberta’s health care system in Alberta, while also serving to expand your network of peers and builds upon your experiences? If so, the Out-of-Country Health Services Appeal Panel (appeal panel) might be just the fit for you.

Alberta Health is recruiting to fill one physician member position on the appeal panel. As a physician member of the appeal panel, you will have the opportunity to combine your analytical and critical thinking skills with your knowledge of Alberta’s insured and publically funded health care services in order to help guide decisions.

Apply by June 25 at http://bit.ly/2pzD0NA

Licensure Requirements for Out of Province Telehealth

March 13, 2017

Licensure Requirements for Out of Province Telehealth – Physicians planning to practice Telemedicine with patients anywhere in Canada outside of their license jurisdiction are encouraged to contact the College of Physicians & Surgeons or Professional Licensing office of their patient’s province or territory, describing the Telemedicine service they wish to provide.

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North

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Edmonton

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Central

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Expression of Interest - Central Zone Medical Director

February 14, 2018

Alberta Health Services (AHS) is seeking a successful and dedicated medical leader with demonstrated experience in health care operations to lead the Central Zone as a Zone Medical Director.

This role is the most senior medical leader in the Central Zone and is a key member of the leadership team within AHS. The Zone Medical Director is ultimately accountable for all AHS Medical Staff-related matters as well as all operational and strategic initiatives. The position requires a 1.0 FTE commitment.

Please see the expression of interest for more information.

Calgary

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Calgary Zone Medical Staff News

South

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