Only a few glitches as Connect Care launches
November 6, 2019
EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services launched the first wave of its new electronic health system Connect Care earlier this month. There were some technical issues and delays, but nothing unexpected, AHS said.
“You don’t plan this type of system transformation without planning for a bumpy road,” Dr. David Zygun (pictured), the Edmonton Zone medical director for Alberta Health Services, told Global News. “And certainly, we’ve seen those bumps as expected.
Connect Care will modernize and centralize the health system. It replaces all paper charting, medication records, lab requisitions and results, and patient medical histories. It will allow health-care providers a central access point to patient information, common clinical standards and best healthcare practices.
“This is the first step to really bringing people together on one system from birth to grave, which all your providers and you as a patient can access – so people can’t fall through the cracks,” Zygun said. “Yes, it will be challenging but we know the end-result is right for patients.”
Connect Care aims to link the various electronic patient record systems across Alberta. The solution will eventually be used across all Alberta Health Services facilities and will be introduced in waves – the last one coming in fall 2020.
The first round began this month at several Edmonton facilities, including the University of Alberta Hospital, Stollery Children’s Hospital, Kaye Edmonton Clinic, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, and Addictions and Mental Health Bed Management.
Those sites involved in the first wave had additional staff and a number of superusers on hand to help employees adjust to the new system.
Zygun said, overall, the transition went well but it wasn’t without some challenges and stress.
“The major issues that we have identified are things that you would predict: log-in difficulties, the right printer not working exactly as we had programmed it and tested it. Some of those things are very easy to correct quickly.
“How we thought things were done and how we planned to do them – when the patients come in and they’re being tested, you realize that maybe some alterations need to be made in real-time and we’re able to do that, which has been really reassuring so that none of these things affect patient care.”
He also said some staff were frustrated with how long certain things took using the new system.
“When you usually do things a little quicker, to learn it, you’re going to take a step back. What we know from implementation is providers will get better at that as we learn the system.”
The first round also included several ambulatory clinics, Alberta precision labs, diagnostic labs and Dynalife.
Zygun said current systems like Net Care will continue to be accessible as other centres transfer over to Connect Care.