Alberta Health Services has launched Connect Care in the Central Zone as of Sunday which will impact more than 25,000 staff at more than 135 AHS sites. There are now nearly 75,000 staff, physicians and other healthcare providers using Connect Care to improve care for patients in North, Edmonton, Central, Calgary, and South zones.
The clinical information system enables health records to be accessed through an online information system allowing physicians to go paperless, as well as gain further decision-making support.
“About 60 per cent of the province will be using Connect Care, and then we have a couple more launches coming up. We do them about every six months. We’ll do another in six months and then another one after that to get the rest of the facilities in the province onto the system,” said Dr. Steven Turner, Associate Chief Medical Information Officer.
Connect Care will also allow patients to access further information in MyHealth Alberta through MyAHS Connect.
“It allows them to see some of that same lab and diagnostic imaging, but they can see comments coming in from their care team. The physician who sees results can provide comments on those results. It allows some direct interaction with their team and it allows them to see some of their appointments that are coming up within Alberta Health Services. It provides a lot of additional contact with Alberta Health Services to support their care,” explained Dr. Turner.
Turner says it will streamline a lot of processes for AHS. He also believes the system will be beneficial for rural areas such as the Central Zone where patients are known to visit different AHS facilities.
“As our patients move to and from the various places they get care, especially for our rural patients, that information will travel with them. We'll be able to see the information that might be created while they were in hospital in a City Centre or something,” explained Dr. Turner.
As healthcare providers adjust to working with a new system, some local clinics have adjusted their walk-in clinic hours of operation in anticipation for potential delays caused by the new system and to alleviate wait times at the hospital as staff adjust.
“As people learn a new system, they have to move a little slower. Although the care is there when they need it, we know that the physicians and the nurses will be moving a little bit slower. We've done what we can to make that easier for them. We've done what we can and they brought in extra staff where it's possible,” said Dr. Turner.
Locally, Lacombe’s Medcombe Walk-In Clinic will be extending hours until 9PM over the next two weeks on November 7-10 and November 14-17. Local doctors are strongly encouraging patients make use of the extended walk-in clinic hours for non-emergent issues as hospital staff adjust to Connect Care.