Alberta launches Wave 2 of Connect Care project
October 28, 2020
EDMONTON – Alberta Health Services launched the second wave of Connect Care at several suburban locations across the Edmonton zone.
The system gives healthcare providers a central access point for patient information and best practices. It also includes AHS Connect, a portal for patients to access their medical information when they are treated at one of the sites using the new system.
Up until this point, over 1,000 different systems have been used across the province to digitize similar information.
Overall, the cost to implement Connect Care will be approximately $1.39 billion over the five-year design, build and implementation period. However, maintaining and upgrading existing systems and technology over the next decade would cost more than implementing the integrated system for Connect Care, the government said.
The Alberta Government has committed $400 million to support Connect Care. The remainder of the cost is being funded internally, through existing AHS operations and contributions from AHS operating areas.
The goal is to have everyone on one system.
“So information can flow across sites, across the zone and eventually across the province,” Dr. David Zygun (pictured), medical director for the AHS Edmonton Zone, told CTV News. “There won’t be loss of information, and that’s one of the major objectives of this initiative.”
Nearly 4,900 staff and 1,100 physicians and other prescribers are involved in its roll out, according to AHS.
“By spreading this to more sites we’ll be able to better function as an integrated system,” Zygun said. “This is obviously a large practice change and we have to be vigilant for these issues, but our teams have really done well overnight and in the preparation for this.”
Connect Care’s first wave was rolled out last November. The second wave was support to happen in May, but was pushed back so AHS could focus on coronavirus. Zygun said Connect Care has actually helped during the pandemic with issues like contact tracing and patient placement.
“Preparations did continue and in the background for this, for what we could do and we wanted to move forward with this transition given the huge benefits of connect care in managing the system.”
The following hospitals, sites and programs are included in the second wave launch:
- Devon General Hospital
- Fort Saskatchewan Community Hospital
- Leduc Community Hospital
- Redwater Health Centre (lab only)
- Strathcona Community Hospital in Sherwood Park
- Sturgeon Community Hospital in St. Albert
- WestView Health Centre in Stony Plain
- North East Community Health Centre in Edmonton
- Continuing Care Access
- Palliative Community Consult Team
- Northern Alberta Renal Program
Zygun said there have already been far fewer issues in the second launch than the first one. “A 75 to 80 per cent improvement in the number of issues identifying that there have been great learnings in many areas.”
The implementation of Connect Care across Alberta will be done in nine waves, with the last set to occur in 2023.
The wave approach is to ensure AHS is able to fix issues as they appear, allowing the system to adapt before it is rolled out in other areas.