Specialty Care Alliance (SCA)

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The Specialty Care Alliance provides a forum for the unified voice of Specialty Care physicians in the province. Specialty care representatives and other key stakeholders work together to advance common interests and shared goals, focusing on system stewardship and various issues and opportunities within Specialty Care.

Purpose

The purpose is to provide a mechanism for the AMA and its specialty sections to engage as a group on various topics including integration of care, income equity, quality patient care, access to services, system innovation, physician supply and other activities of common interest.

Principles

  • Enhance quality and value of health care provided to Albertans.
  • Improve specialist integration with primary care partners.
  • Improve access to specialist care for all Albertans.
  • Enhance the well-being of specialist physicians.
  • Collaborate in quality and health system improvement.
  • Advocate for innovation in health systems and models of care.

Current Work of the SCA

The SCA aims to unite specialists to be strong members of the health neighborhood, optimizing care continuity and transitions. The various specialty sections are represented on the SCA, enabling the AMA and specialist to address key priorities and issues, such as improving access to specialty care for Albertans and advocating for health system innovation and improvement. One of the key priorities of the SCA is collaboration with the Primary Care Alliance (PCA) to improve patient transitions as they move between primary and specialty care.

The SCA endorses Community Information Integration with the aim of system-level informational continuity for all patients.

Advocacy work

The AMA Joint Task Force (JTF), comprised of family physicians, specialists and AMA support staff, represents members with a unified voice that supports and enables grassroots physician advocacy efforts.

Role of the SCA

Transitions of Care

The aim of Health System Integration is for Albertans to experience seamless, continuous, high quality care as they transition through the Health Neighborhood.

Community Information Integration

Community Information Integration (CII) allows specialists to select consults to go directly from their community-based EMR to the Alberta Netcare Portal. Uploaded specialists' consultation reports will appear in the "Consultations" folder in the clinical document viewer in Netcare.

Consultation Resources

High quality transitions, as part of the continuum of care, lead to quality, safe care for patients. Improving the referral process through improved information and management continuity can lead to more effective, efficient care in which the primary care physician is better able to care for his or her patients.

The SCA developed evidence-based principles to guide specialist care in the referral/consultation process:

  • Care is patient-centered. Patient-centered care is a guiding principle at the center of all health care delivery. All service delivery should account for patient experience, safety and preferences. Caregivers and/or family members are included in patient-centered practice.
  • Standardized processes are identified and implemented to optimize workflow and information flow. Consistent processes reduce errors and are foundational to information and management continuity.
  • Primary and Specialty care physician and teams take a partnership, collaborative approach to avoid gaps in care. Relationship building between primary and specialty care promote shared accountability with role and responsibility clarity at all points in care transitions.
  • Optimizing use of a multi-disciplinary team promotes communication and coordination. Use of a multi-disciplinary team removes workload burden from physicians and ensures team engagement for smooth processes.
  • Engagement in quality improvement and evaluation ensures high-quality, reliable processes. Engagement in regular check-ins or process reviews ensures that the referral system is working effectively and efficiently.
  • System leadership is required to model commitment to improving the referral process. Both clinical and non-clinical champions of this work are required to be leaders in process change.
  • An IT infrastructure is a necessary, but not solely sufficient, enabler for optimized referral processes. The most common enabler of information transfer is a multi-access electronic system that allows for safe and effective sharing of patient information.

The following resources are available to specialist physicians to support quality transitions in care:

Members

Dr. Luc Berthiaume, Chair
Intensive Care

Dr. Graham Campbell, Deputy Chair
Diagnostic Imaging

Dr. Jessica Abraham
General Surgery

Dr. Sidd Thakore
Pediatrics

Dr. Tyler Pirlot
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

Dr. Geoffrey Hawboldt
Anesthesia

Dr. Laurie Parsons
Dermatology

Dr. Michel Sauve
Internal Medicine

Dr. Bertus Eksteen
Gastroenterology

Dr. Derek Townsend
AMA Board Member

Dr. Duncan McCubbin
Obstetrics and Gynecology

Dr. Earl Campbell
Plastic Surgery

Specialty Care Forum

Next Meeting: TBD, fall 2021

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The AMA advances patient-centered, quality care by advocating for and supporting physician leadership and wellness.