AHS Clinical Information Systems

A revised information sharing approach

August 30, 2017

Contributed by: Robert Hayward, MD, MPH, FRCPC | Chief Medical Information Officer, Alberta Health Services

A revised approach to information sharing among users of the Alberta Health Services (AHS) Clinical Information Systems (CIS) will take effect January 1, 2018, pending approval from a number of key stakeholders. Stakeholders include AHS, Alberta Medical Association (AMA), College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta (CPSA), University of Alberta (U of A) and University of Calgary (U of C). This development of a revised approach has been facilitated by Alberta Health (AH).

Under the new approach, AHS will be the sole custodian of health information, with clinicians acting as “affiliates” for the purposes of information sharing within AHS CISs. This will mean a change in assumptions about how some physicians relate to AHS CISs. A prior “Information Sharing Framework” contemplated ambulatory care physician “co-custodians” for some uses of the eCLINICIAN CIS in the Edmonton Zone and the Sunrise Clinical Manager CIS in the Calgary Zone.

Key timeline milestones include:

  • June 30, 2017 – consensus reached among stakeholders regarding information sharing approach for AHS CISs.
  • Summer 2017 – begin socializing new approach with physicians.
  • January 2018 – begin implementation process.

Communications activities throughout this process will need to ensure that physicians within and outside of AHS:

  • Are aware the change is underway.
  • Understand why it’s important.
  • Understand how it will impact information sharing assumptions in their ambulatory care practice.
  • Understand the benefits of the new approach for current CISs and for the AHS Provincial CIS.
  • Have access to relevant documentation or have high level understanding of the changes.
  • Have opportunity and means to get their questions answered.

With these considerations in mind, a comprehensive communications plan is being developed to help with the transition, ensuring alignment with key stakeholders when it comes to messaging, interventions and timelines. Physicians can look to the following for communications and engagement:

  • Development of informational page on AHS external website (ahs.ca/medicalstaff) as a central location to direct clinicians.
  • Links and/or integration with existing zone CIS web pages and the AHS Provincial CIS web pages, both internal and external.
  • Integration with existing clinician-to-clinician handbooks.
  • Integration with CIS dashboards, resource links and other within-CIS information and help services.
  • Memoranda via AHS Medical Affairs and AMA.
  • Physician publications, including Strategic Clinical Networks Newsletters, Vital Signs, Alberta Doctors’ Digest, U of C Continuing Medical Education Newsletter, U of A Medicine News, MD Scope, Section News, CPSA Messenger and PCN Newsletters.
  • In-person engagement opportunities, including ZMAC meetings in all five AHS Zones and PPEC meetings.
  • In-person engagement opportunities including AHS north sector and south sector telehealth sessions featuring AHS CMIO, provincial physician liaison forum, regional medical staff associations, faculty/academic departments.
  • Social media via AHS social media channels.

The Alberta Medical Association stands as an advocate for its physician members, providing leadership & support for their role in the provision of quality health care.