Alberta Health & COACH Team Up on eSafety

Don NewshamTORONTO – Electrocardiogram machines, smart infusion pumps, computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems – these are just a few of the technologies that are now widely used in healthcare to achieve better patient care in Canada.

Alberta Health has taken a major step towards ensuring these and other technologies do not present inadvertent patient safety risks. It has done so through an agreement for jurisdiction-wide availability of the COACH eSafety Guidelines in Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

The Guidelines eBook PDF is now available at no charge to public healthcare organizations in Alberta and the NWT through a jurisdictional licensing agreement with COACH.

The Government of Alberta supports the broad circulation of the eSafety Guidelines both within Alberta and its neighbour, the NWT.

“How do we put our words into action when we speak of ‘patient-centred care’?” asks Susan Anderson, ADM and CIO for Alberta Health. “From the perspective of Digital Health, patient focus requires the conscious intention of reducing and mitigating threats to both patient safety and reduced quality of care.

“The COACH eSafety Guidelines provide us with a roadmap to embed a comprehensive and holistic approach to eSafety that will be seamless with our current culture of patient safety in clinical care delivery.”

COACH spent more than two years developing the 148-page resource, conducting extensive research across Canada and around the world. The eSafety Guidelines provide a foundational model for an eSafety management program (eSMP), which is needed by all organizations involved in the design, implementation, operation and use of eHealth systems.

The guidelines help minimize the risk of an adverse event caused by failure, malfunction or misuse of eHealth technologies. The guidelines cover establishing, implementing, operating, reviewing, maintaining and improving an eSafety management program.

“Our eSafety Guidelines represent landmark progress in providing practical guidance and tools to identify and manage inadvertent patient safety risks,” said COACH CEO Don Newsham (pictured). “Users can turn to it for a truly comprehensive, holistic approach to eSafety that complements the current patient safety culture in clinical care delivery and fosters the accelerated adoption of safer eHealth systems.”

Alberta and NWT public healthcare organizations can obtain the eSafety Guidelines eBook from the Alberta Health Privacy and Security Unit by emailing, or calling 780.427.8089.

COACH eSafety Guidelines jurisdictional agreements are available to Canadian provincial, territorial and other jurisdictions. The hard-copy book version of the Guidelines and the Guidelines eBook can also be purchased from the COACH Store.

COACH: Canada’s Health Informatics Association is the voice of health informatics (HI) in Canada, promoting the adoption, practice and professionalism of HI. COACH represents a diverse community of accomplished, influential professionals who work passionately to make a difference in advancing healthcare through information technology. HI is the intersection of clinical, IM/IT and management practices. Members are dedicated to realizing their full potential as professionals and advancing HI through access to information, talent, credentials, recognition, programs and a broad range of services and specialized resources. Please visit

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