Connect Care Identifiers on Lab Requisitions - Important information for community providers

Connect Care Wave 3 launches in less than a week, with key lab services at Alberta Health Services North Zone sites moving to Connect Care laboratory information services. This has implications for providers who do not use Connect Care as their record of care, as well as for providers in an interim state awaiting a future Connect Care launch (e.g., Cancer Care in NZ). 

All affected community providers are alerted to action needed to ensure that investigation results and reports are delivered correctly. This involves: 

  • Use use of Connect Care identifiers on requisitions
  • Use of updated requisitions to order laboratory tests and diagnostic imaging

For more information: 


Connect Care Wave Sequencing Update

As previously announced, Connect Care's Wave 3 launch date was moved from February 2021 to April 2021 to accommodate pandemic pressures. This, in turn, impacts the scope and timing for Waves 4, 5 and 6. These highlights reflect changes being announced today:

  • There will still be nine implementation waves in total, to be completed in 2023.
  • A modified Wave 3 launches April 10, 2021, primarily in the North Zone.
  • Wave 4 will launch November 7, 2021, to include the Royal Alexandra Hospital and Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton, the Alberta Children’s Hospital and Peter Lougheed Centre in Calgary, as well as Calgary Zone rural and urgent care sites (with aligned clinics and services), the Southern Alberta Forensic Psychiatric Centre, Central Production Pharmacy and all labs in the Edmonton Zone which have not already implemented Connect Care. 
  • Wave 5 will launch May 14, 2022, to include the west area (former David Thompson Health Region) of Central Zone, Centennial Centre for Mental Health and Brain Injury in Central Zone, Richmond Road Diagnostic and Treatment Centre and Foothills Medical Centre in Calgary, Cancer Care (and associated pharmacies), Alberta Kidney Care South, and all lab services in the rural portion of the west area of Central Zone.
  • Wave 6 will launch November 6, 2022, to include Grey Nuns Hospital, Misericordia Hospital and Alberta Hospital Edmonton in the Edmonton Zone, the east area (former East Central Health Region) of Central Zone, the Rockyview General Hospital and the South Health Campus in Calgary Zone, the associated pharmacy services in Edmonton, Central and Calgary zones, lab services in the rural portions of the east area of Central Zone, and Alberta Precision Laboratories in the Calgary Zone.
  • Wave 7 will launch in the spring of 2023, to include the east side of the North Zone (former Aspen and Northern Lights Health regions), the South Zone, including the stand-alone long-term care sites, and the associated pharmacy and lab services for these sites and programs.
  • Details for Waves 8 and 9 are still being determined and will be shared when available.

More information about the scope and sequencing of the waves is available on an updated Wave Implementation Diagram.

It’s important to understand that future adjustments may be needed as we continue to rollout Connect Care. Patients and our healthcare teams will continue to come first in every decision we make, as we work to ensure each wave can be launched effectively and safely. 

The commitment to Connect Care has not changed and its successful implementation remains an organizational priority.


MyHealth Records: More Lab Results for Patients via My Personal Records

The following information is provided by Alberta Health respecting some important changes to the My Health Records service:

In 2021, Albertans will be able to view more laboratory test results in "My Health Records" (MHR), the integrated access point for Albertans’ personal health information. These lab results will be viewable through the "My Personal Records" (MPR) application. This change is being made to provide Albertans with more access to their health information, and as an additional safety net for patient care within the system. These results will be viewable as soon as they are released by laboratory services:

  • About 95% of the most commonly-ordered (by volume) lab test results will be viewable by Feb 1, 2021. 
  • All remaining lab tests, including more complex results in microbiology, pathology and genetics, will be available in MPR by July 1, 2021.

Lab results ordered from all sites in Alberta, including labs ordered during inpatient and emergency visits will be included in MPR. Once the changes are in place, new users will see an 18-month retrospective view of any lab results slated for release. Existing users will not have labs added retroactively, but they will be able to see the expanded lab results moving forward. 

After the changes, patients will have immediate access to more of their own information. Providers may notice some changes in their patterns of work, and may need to consider giving patients more information about the implications of different results when initially ordering a test. Physicians and other providers will continue to have access to results information through their usual channels, including Alberta Netcare.

To support Albertans, Alberta has created the MyHealth.Alberta.ca Web site, a trusted source of health information, and MyHealth Records Support is available at 1-844-401-4016, 24 hours daily. Technical assistance is available between 8:15 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. (MT), Monday to Friday, but a connection to 811 for health-related inquiries, including test results, is available at all times.

For more information about lab results online, please visit:

The Alberta Medical Association and Alberta Health Services will be hosting webinars for providers: 

Webinar: Real Time Release of Labs to Patients: What This Means to Your Practice
Speakers: Dr. Allen Ausford, Dr. Brad Bahler, Dr. Jay Easaw, Dr. Rob Hayward, Dr. Nigel Flook

Date: Wednesday January 20, 2021
Time: 12:00 PM

Moderator: Dr. Heidi Fell, Informatics Chair, Alberta Medical Association
Register: https://albertadoctors.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJEuduqqqjgsGtDTMnZy0HftCmbufOJQlxft

Date: Wednesday January 27, 2021
Time: 5:00 PM

Moderator: Dr. Stuart Rosser, Interim Chief Medical Information Officer, Alberta Health Services
Register: http://ahs-cis.ca/mhrwebinar   


Important Information for Primary Care and Community Providers related to the impact of Connect Care: Connect Care Identifiers

Connect Care will launch Wave 3 at select sites in the Calgary and North Zones on February 27, 2021. All community providers in Alberta need to take action so that laboratory, diagnostic imaging, and other investigation results and reports are delivered to your office. As soon as you receive notification from Alberta Health Services (AHS), you need to: 

  • Use Connect Care identifiers on requisitions
  • Use updated requisitions to order laboratory tests and diagnostic imaging

If your practice uses eDelivery for electronic delivery of results to your EMR, please confirm with you EMR vendor that your new identifiers have been uploaded to your EMR. If you do not use eDelivery, new Connect Care identifiers are being distributed by mail to your clinic before the Wave 3 launch. These identifiers must be placed on updated lab and diagnostic imaging requisitions so that results are successfully routed to community practices.

Community healthcare providers continue to use their existing Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and other processes to manage patient information that is not part of the AHS record of care.  Community practitioners are a huge part of any person’s care team -- thank you for learning about Connect Care and supporting patient care across Alberta.

For more information: 

Contact Connect Care: ccproviderbridge@ahs.ca  

Update your provider information with AHS: AHS.Provider_Requests@ahs.ca 


Connect Care Wave 2 Launch - October 24, 2020

Community practitioners are a significant part of any person’s care team, and it’s vital that they have information and awareness about Connect Care and how it will support and benefit patients. 

To ensure a smooth transition and ongoing delivery of laboratory and diagnostic imaging results, community providers in Alberta who do not use Connect Care as their record of care need to:
  • Use Connect Care Identifiers
  • Use new requisitions to order labs and diagnostic imaging that can incorporate those identifiers
  • Advise AHS of any practice location(s) change, even if short term
  • Provide a preferred method for receiving results and other information from AHS and affiliated organizations
Community health care providers continue to use their existing Electronic Medical Records and other processes to manage patient information that is not part of the AHS record of care.


Connect Care Community Provider Update, Issue 2, September 2020

Connect Care will launch “Wave 2” at Edmonton suburban sites on October 24, 2020.  Community healthcare providers continue to use their existing Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and other processes to manage patient information that is not part of the AHS record of care.  

Community practitioners are a huge part of any person’s care team, and it’s vital that you have information and awareness about Connect Care and how it will support and benefit the care of your patients. To help ensure a smooth transition, regardless of wave or where you practice, to ensure ongoing delivery of laboratory and diagnostic imaging results to your office, community providers in Alberta need to: 

  • Use Connect Care Identifiers 
  • Use new requisitions to order labs and diagnostic imaging that can incorporate those identifiers
  • Advise AHS if your practice location(s) change, even if short term.
  • Provide your preferred method for receiving results and other information from AHS and affiliated organizations. 
For the full edition: Connect Care Community Provider Update, Issue 2, September 2020

Contact Information: 


Connect Care Planning Resumes with New Timelines and Sequence

As pre-pandemic activities restart across Alberta, Connect Care planning and implementation work is also resuming.

Waves 2 and 3 of Connect Care were temporarily delayed in March, given the significantly increased demands on our frontline physicians, staff and services, and the increased health risks our patients and healthcare teams faced due to COVID-19. While our response and management of COVID-19 continues across the province, we will be carefully and thoughtfully moving forward with preparations for the next waves of Connect Care, maintaining our ability to be flexible and ready for COVID-19 patients in the weeks and months to come, should demands change again in our province.

We have adjusted our rollout plan based on the impact of COVID-19. The launch dates for waves 2, 3, and 4 are as follows:
  • Wave 2: Launch date - Saturday, October 24, 2020
  • Wave 3: Launch date - Saturday, February 27, 2021
  • Wave 4: Launch date - Saturday, June 5, 2021
The areas that will be part of each launch wave have also been updated. Please review the Connect Care wave scope and sequencing diagram to learn which sites and programs are included in these launch dates:
A message has also been sent to staff, physicians and volunteers across AHS to advise them of Connect Care’s re-launch plans.

Community practitioners are an important part of every Albertan’s care team, and your ongoing support is vital  as together we move this provincial health care priority ahead. Thank you for your support.

Additional information about Connect Care activities will be shared soon. For Connect Care resources, please visit ahs.ca/ccproviderbridge, or email ccproviderbridge@ahs.ca.


IMPORTANT - Use New Provider Identifiers on all Lab Requisitions

The recent Connect Care launch involves much more than a health record. Aging laboratory, diagnostic imaging, pharmacy, registration and other systems are replaced by an integrated clinical information system (CIS).

Although the Connect Care wave 1 sites have a limited footprint, changes to support systems have far wider impact. Of greatest concern has been report of possible missing results and reports in eDelivery streams to non-Connect Care electronic medical records (EMRs).

After thorough and careful investigation, it is certain that laboratory instruments are correctly interfaced to Connect Care laboratory information systems. The right results are received without error and are correctly filed to external systems like Netcare.

However, some results and reports are delayed on their journey to the EMRs of ordering prescribers. Why?

The primary reason is uncertainty about exactly where to route the results. Legacy approaches to results routing involved many different laboratory information systems, with different physician directories. Connect Care brings a consistent and reliable prescriber registry to ensure precise results routing. Every provider has a unique identifier. This is combined with identifiers for the setting and department from where orders were initiated and results need to be returned.

Unfortunately, there are many test requisitions that still lack the correct identifiers. This forces a manual process for identifying the provider, location and EMR for routing. Critical and important results are communicated directly to avoid delay. Processes are firming up for increasing the number of old requisitions that can be routed manually without delay.

What can physicians do? The single most important corrective is to ensure that the new provincial provider, department and submitter IDs are used on all requisitions, that recurring requisitions are pulled and corrected with new ones, and that EMR vendor updates to incorporate definitive ordering identifiers have been applied.


Dynalife Laboratory Bulletin

The Wave 1 Connect Care launch included implementation of new laboratory information services affecting large portions of Edmonton and North zones. Moving to provincial lab standards includes a reliable and sustainable way to identify prescribers as well as the context in which they order laboratory investigations. Some eDelivery challenges relate to adoption of identifiers, with some transitional difficulties, as explained in this DynaLife Bulletin....


Resources for Post-Secondary Institutions and Regulatory Organizations

Connect Care's Stakeholder Advisory Group provides a forum for health education institutions, professional organizations and regulatory bodies to provide input to the Connect Care initiative and promote effective liaison.

A new website organizes information and resources that can help these groups with their Connect Care activities.


What Connect Care documentation will go to Netcare?

The Netcare Electronic Health Record (EHR) offers a cradle-to-grave, read-only, aggregated view of information from multiple databases about key health events in an individual’s life; information that any health care provider may need in order to serve an individual. Among that core information might be summaries of key events such as hospitalizations, emergency room visits and operations.

The Connect Care initiative integrates information for all Alberta Health Services, partner organization and affiliate clinic sites. Previously, Netcare's access to facility information was patchy, depending upon local arrangements for things like dictation and transcription. Connect Care brings all emergency rooms, acute care facilities and major procedural sites to consistent digital documentation. This can only improve prospects for Netcare to fulfill its informational purpose.

On the other hand, Connect Care amasses huge amounts of clinical documentation. This must be carefully selected before sharing with Netcare, or the Netcare purpose could be overwhelmed by information not aligned with the EHR value proposition.

Connect Care will share summative documents with Netcare. These include emergency room reports, admission histories, discharge summaries, transition summaries, consultations and operative reports. Summative documents can stand on their own, as they pull together and appraise relevant information at a single point in time.

Connect Care will not share formative or transactional documentation. This includes progress notes, procedure notes and other documentation that cannot stand on its own, but depends upon its placement in the larger clinical information system to make sense.

Netcare's interoperation capacity needs to be enhanced to be accept all the summative documentation that Connect Care makes available. Early improvements will be noted with consistent emergency, admission, consult and discharge summary sharing. Later, outpatient consult letters will be consistently captured.

The bottom line: Connect Care will make it easier for Netcare to have complete information in the categories it collates.


Alberta Precision Laboratories - Test Directory Changes

When clinicians order laboratory tests, they sometimes search a “Test Directory” to find information about things like test approval requirements, requisitions, sample types and containers, special collection requirements, and shipping and handling needs.

When Alberta Precision Laboratories (APL) was formed, it started bringing together multiple organizations (AHS, Calgary Lab Services, Public Health, Covenant and Lamont laboratories, etc) under common standards and terminologies. The new test catalogue is developed to serve as a single, provincial, source of truth for information related to the ordering, collection, shipping, handling and reporting of laboratory investigations.

Work is underway to develop a new interface to the APL Test Directory, with enhanced features and functionality. Completion is expected in late 2020. In the meantime an interim directory has been developed. This merges four legacy test directories into one database which will be searchable starting with Connect Care Wave 1 launch on November 3, 2019. Since multiple sources have been combined, users may see tests appear more than once in the interim directory. Work continues to align and amalgamate content.

Improvements will be made as directory continues to develop. Connect Care users will note that each orderable test includes a link to relevant information in the interim APL test directory. For more information:


Connect Care eDelivery Results Review

The launch of Connect Care on November 3, 2019 includes launch of an integrated laboratory information system that replaces a number of aging systems. Many laboratory test results will be sent to non-Connect Care Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) from the new clinical information system (CIS).

As with any change there is always the chance for unexpected challenges. For example, with provincial standardization of test names and normal ranges, some reports may look a little different from the past. It is important to be aware of this in the weeks immediately following November 3 and to be extra vigilant about ensuring that expected results make it back to the right chart in the right way. An update goes into more detail, offering a variety of additional sources of help:


Letters with Connect Care Provider IDs Mailed

We previously posted about how the transition to Alberta Precision Laboratories and integration of laboratory information services would entail new provider, practice and possibly location identifiers for physicians ordering investigations in settings where Connect Care is not the record of care.

Letters to implicated practitioners are mailed, with priority to the >5,400 active prescribers. A remaining ~3,000 letters are undergoing final checks of continued activity in the Province.

Physicians should receive soon.


Results and Reports Routing - Multisite

Prescribers who order laboratory tests, diagnostic imaging (DI) and other interventions from more than one practice location (site) will need to understand how the associated results and reports are returned for their review once the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS) is implemented.

We previously posted answers to questions for prescribers who use a single Electronic Medical Record (EMR) in a single practice location; a relatively straightforward use-case.

A new FAQ addresses more complicated information flows, such as those affecting physicians who work with more than one EMR, more than one practice location or a mix of EMR(s) and the Connect Care CIS.