First Looks: Pharmacy Information Network integration

The Alberta Pharmacy Information Network (PIN) offers a fairly complete record of medications that may have been dispensed for a patient from an outpatient pharmacy. The dispensing information is not the same as prescribing (intended) or complying (actually taking) medication lists. It is most accurate for persons over age 65 who are Alberta residents. Still, PIN can be a valuable source of information when doing medication reconciliation.

Connect Care has an interface to the PIN dataset. It is possible to see and review medications that have been dispensed. It is particularly useful to be able to select from those to initiate a patient's medication history during admission or new outpatient review.

A short demonstration shows how PIN information can appear and be reconciled.


Area Trainer Opportunities for Waves 2 and 3

Connect Care will launch at several Calgary and Central zone sites in May 2020, and it is time to get ready!

There are opportunities for new physician Area Trainers, a role that has proven exciting and rewarding to physicians who currently help with Wave 1 preparations. Area Trainers deliver Connect Care training while also promoting transformation and clinical improvement at launch.

We've previously posted about Physician Area Trainers. Interested clinicians benefit from exceptional clinical information system orientation and change management coaching. Stipend-supported, Area Trainers can use the role to supplement their usual clinical activities, play a pivotal role at Connect Care launch and positively impact health care in Alberta. Area Trainers are critical to the success of Connect Care, and will champion the initiative in their teams.  There will be an opportunity to extend the role to subsequent waves of Connect Care in the zone.

For more information:


Key Messages as Launch Looms

As we near the launch of Connect Care in November, interest across the organization is growing. So too is general anxiety about how the launch and transition will go. All clinical informatics protagonists have a role to play in supporting clear messaging about what to expect during and after launch:
  • Together, we’ve been building a much-needed bridge between information, healthcare teams and patients. Thanks to your efforts, patients will be able to access to their AHS medical records through Connect Care’s patient portal, while all healthcare providers across AHS will have a central access point to up-to-date patient information.
  • Connect Care is all about improving patients outcomes and experiences. It provides common decision-making support for clinicians to ensure all our physicians and frontline staff have access to the same clinical standards and best healthcare practices. 
  • Connect Care is complex and so is its rollout. There will be thousands of issues as we transition – some will be urgent; some not. We have plans and supports in place to address these issues and ensure they don’t affect the high-quality care we provide to patients. At the same time, we know there will also be hundreds of thousands of things that go better than expected.  
  • Putting Connect Care in place will take time. We need to be ok with this. Resolution times for issues will vary. Sometimes solutions will require multiple steps and, in the end, won’t be perfect. We will get to where we need to be over the weeks and months ahead. 
  • Stay positive for your teams and our patients. Even in our most frustrating moments, we need to encourage each other and never share our frustrations with our patients. 


Connect Care Mobility Compact - Feedback Requested

Clinicians are free to bring and use personal devices in clinical settings. However, mobile devices also leave clinical settings and are vulnerable to loss, theft, hacking or eavesdropping. Accordingly, while Connect Care Mobility can be convenient for clinicians, it also exposes them and their patients to some extraordinary risks. Ensuring that mobile clinical applications are properly secured relates to Connect Care Mobility Management, as explained in:
Ensuring that mobile applications are used responsibly is a matter of professionalism, commitment and good habit. A "compact" is a clear statement of reciprocal expectations and accountabilities between two groups. Typically short and simple, it can be easier to action than complex legal terms and conditions. The Connect Care Mobility Compact summarizes rights and responsibilities related to health information sharing:
All clinicians who install and use Connect Care Mobility must abide by the Mobility Compact. The current version has been reviewed by a number of stakeholders. We would be most grateful for any additional feedback or suggestions from clinician informaticians.


First Looks: Connect Care Portals Interface Progress

Although the Connect Care patient and provider portals have been in working order for some time now, recent configuration has focused on look-and-feel, including colour schemes and branding that reflects the Connect Care identity.

The Connect Care patient portal should be referred to as "MyAHS Connect" going forward. The Connect Care Provider Portal retains its original name.

More "branding" continues. However, the portals are taking shape and worth a quick, interim, look.

Both demonstrations require an AHS network username and password:


First Looks: Launch Netcare from Connect Care Provider Portal

Physicians who do not use Connect Care can better support their patients by having access to important clinical information managed where Connect Care is the record of care. The Connect Care Provider Portal makes this possible. It complements, not replaces, Alberta's Netcare electronic health record.

It can help to work with both resources, Connect Care and Netcare, when reviewing information that may not be stored in a physician's independent electronic medical record. This is facilitated by being able to launch Netcare (in context, single-sign-on) to the correct patient record when reviewing the corresponding Connect Care record in the provider portal.

A very short demonstration shows how the function works (fictional patient and so no masking).


First Looks: Launch eCLINICIAN from Connect Care

Access to the eCLINICIAN outpatient Electronic Medical Record will be important for Connect Care clinicians in the Edmonton Zone who transition from eCLINICIAN to the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS).

Essential clinical information will transfer from the EMR to CIS as a result of data conversion. However, some information types (such as media manager attachments) do not transfer. If these are needed, in-context launch of the eCLINICIAN Link portal is supported within the CIS patient record.

This function will not be available in pre-production environments, as it depends upon a real patient identifier. A very short demonstration shows how the function works (with appropriate masking).


First looks: Launch Netcare from Connect Care

Our medical informatics community has been eager to see this for some time! Access to the Alberta Netcare Portal (ANP) will be important for Connect Care clinicians, as there remains a wealth of clinical information in the provincial Electronic Health Record (EHR) for years to come.

ANP can be accessed from any chart opened within the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS) by an authorized provider. Although the final details of the user experience continue to be tweaked, the basic idea can be appreciated from a short demonstration video, linked below.

Note that the launch is "single-sign-on" in that the user is not challenged to re-enter logon credentials. The launch is also "in context" because the correct patient chart is loaded and viewed in an activity tab within the open Connect Care chart.

This function will not be available in pre-production environments, as it depends upon an authorized provider ID and a shared patient identifier. Still, coming soon!


Supporting Medical Support Staff

Medical informaticians working to advance Connect Care may be aware of some physician concern about whether their office support staff will be able to continue to do things like surgical case bookings once the clinical information system deploys. Many are not AHS employees. Please see and promote the following messaging about support for support staff.
Access to and use of the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS) is supported wherever, whenever and for whomever Connect Care is the record of care.

Many physicians will serve where Connect Care is the record of care but Alberta Health Services (AHS) is not the provider of care. Some of these physicians work through partner or affiliate organizations and others are members of independent practices or networks.

By now, all Wave 1 physicians should know that they need to join the Connect Care community. Some, however, are concerned about how those who support them will be supported. Medical Office Assistant (MOA) activities include things like facilitating clinical communications, patient preparation, case scheduling and other informational tasks. The activities vary by clinic and specialty.

Just like the physicians they support, MOAs need to register for the training tracks that fit their work. This happens automatically for AHS support staff. The process can be more confusing for support staff working with independent health service organizations or private practices.

Medical Affairs has tried to identify all MOAs who need to be supported for the Wave 1 launch of the Connect Care CIS. All physicians registered for Wave 1 should ensure that all of their MOAs needing CIS access are identified to Medical Affairs, have their job tasks defined, and are allocated to appropriate training tracks.  If in doubt, contact Josephine Amelio (medical affairs) as a matter of urgency.


Medical Informatics Leads - Weekly Highlights

With so much happening so quickly, communicating the right messages to the right people at the right time is even more difficult. We've heard from physician leaders that periodic lists suggested highlight topics could help.

Medical informaticians can continue to find source materials in the physician community blogs. We'll also post weekly about possible theme topics to include in facility and specialty focused communications.

Of interest to the medical informatics community this week:


Connect Care Implementation Timeline Updated

As announced in the general Connect Care physician blog, a decision has been finalized to merge Waves 2 and 3 of our implementation timeline.

The rationale was explained. There are many benefits but also, of course, some logistical challenges to work out.
  • Less travel in difficult winter conditions
  • More post-launch optimization and build
  • More options for training
Medical informaticians may find updated timeline infographics helpful when communicating. Overall project deployment is unchanged.


Update: Reporting Validation Problems

A prior posting about reporting user interface issues still pertains.

Participating informaticians and physicians should work with validation support teams to ensure that design validations, issues, enhancements and requests are recorded in the Connect Care Tracker.

A Connect Care Solution Centre will soon allow all help, bug, suggestion, request and feedback communications to flow through standardized email, telephone, peer and drop-in intake channels. Until then, please continue to send bug reports and interface tweaks to:
Connect Care users can also use the fixes email to report problems until the solution centre becomes available. They can also use monitored email addresses to submit feedback about clinical content (documentation, decision and inquiry supports):
A very simple norm can make it easier to triage reports based on the email subject line, as explained in a resource for Connect Care users:


Patient Movement Day Info for Wave 1 Medical Informatics Leads

A head's up for our clinical informaticians, especially those most affected by Wave 1: Patient Movement Day (PMD) occurs this coming Wednesday September 18, 2019 and is an important readiness event.

The PMD demonstrations in the morning may not cover new ground for folks already trained in things like admission navigators and transfer orders. However, the afternoon demonstrations could benefit from more physician resources. These are important workflows to review and we can help answer questions from participants.

Lots of information, including schedules, has been posted to the general interest Connect Care blog (Bytes) and can be pulled with this link:


Connect Care Access Portal in Production

Previous postings have alerted Connect Care medical informaticians to changes in Internet links used to gain access to pre-production and production clinical information system (CIS) environments.

The Unified Access Portal (UAP) has stabilized and is now in production. This involved final tweaks to the UAP addresses used when connecting from inside and outside the Alberta Health Services (AHS) intranet firewall.

For those who have used CMIO physician shortcuts, there is nothing to change. For those who have used prior UAP Internet links, as of today (Sept 13, 2019) myapps.ahs.ca goes to production and uat-myapps.ahs.ca goes to pre-production, with the same links active on and off the Intranet. "mystore.ahs.ca" and "uat-mystore.ahs.ca" are no longer supported

We continue to provide simple shortcuts that always direct to the correct access portal. These can be simplified even further:


Which CIS Environment is Which?

It is exciting to get ever more exposure to what the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS) will look like at launch. Along the way, we are called upon to work in a variety of CIS "environments". Each has a specific purpose, and properties suited to that purpose.

Our eHealth Glossary has been updated to include definitions of all the CIS environments that may be encountered by clinical informaticians. Each acronym (e.g., PRD, SBX, PLY, etc.) is defined together with information about the groups who have access, and under what conditions. The following link pulls environment definitions from the glossary:

Current and upcoming readiness activities typically use the following environments:
  • Training
    • Basic --> ACE, EXAM
    • Post-Basic practice --> PLY
    • Personalization --> PRD
    • Preference card build --> PRD
  • Abstraction and Cutover --> PRD
  • CIS to eCLINICIAN interface --> REL
  • Data Conversion --> REL, TST
  • Readiness
    • CORe Day --> TST
    • Patient Movement Day --> TST
    • Shadow Charting --> SUP
    • Cutover Practice --> SUP
    • Workflow Dress Rehearsal --> PRD


Connect Care Impacts on eDelivery

The Non-AHS Community Physician Advisory Group (NACPAG) has produced some important messaging about how Connect Care affects results and reports routing for physicians who do not use Connect Care as their record of care. Many physicians either find themselves in "external" contexts some of the time, or find themselves grappling with questions from physicians working entirely in external contexts.

NACPAG maintains an external website for interested stakeholders and promotes a blog with matching communications.

Medical informaticians may want to consider subscribing to the "Bridges" Connect Care blog. The current theme is results routing, but the blog has lasting value covering issues that matter to our non-Connect Care colleagues.


Citrix Virtual Machine Settings Restored

As previously shared, there were changes to AHS Citrix virtual machine configurations on August 30 which impacted important clinical workflows. Changes included disabling of clipboard, file management and printer selection functions.

We understand that the Citrix settings are restored to prior norms and that any related issues will be explored. This means that Connect Care CIS environments (DMO, SBX, PLY, PRD, POC, TST, etc.), as well as eCLINICIAN environments, should function as previously.

Remember that access through unified access portals also changed on August 30 and continues. See the linked tip sheet and remember the links provided for physician informatician convenience:
Physician design leads and ACMIOs are asked to invite medical informatics leads to test these functions when demonstrating, validating, testing, etc. and bring any issues to the attention of the CMIO portfolio (mip@ahs.ca).


All Connect Care Physician Informaticians - Please Test...

It is important that everything needed for physicians to access the Connect Care clinical information system, both inside the AHS networks (Intranet) and outside (extranet) and for mobility and desktop devices, is anticipated and taken care of before personalization workshops begin later this month.

There have been changes to the access portals recently.

For starters, we need all physician design leads, ACMIOs, medical informatics leads, knowledge leads, power users, super users and builders to confirm their intranet and extranet portal access. Please use the following two links to check to see if you can log on to the physician access portal (AHS UAP):

Please inform mip@ahs.ca if you are not able to log on to the access portal in both contexts.


Oops! Accessing pre-production Connect Care environments

We previously reported about changes to the unified access portals (UAP) that physician informaticians use to find and launch the clinical information system instances set up to support training, demonstration, validation and other pre-launch activities.

We have since edited the preferred links and tips for physician informaticians. There have been problems with security certificate registration and this has meant that Intranet access to pre-production environments has not worked for some physicians.

A work-around is available. To keep things easy for busy demonstrators, we support the (temporary) fix for Intranet access through the user-friendly shortcuts maintained by the CMIO portfolio for physicians. There is a link for when computers connect to the Intranet, and another for locations outside the reach of the AHS Intranet. Once everything settles closer to launch, be assured that we will get down to a single link that works everywhere.