2019-08-01

Connecting for Continuity

Continuity of Care is about a patient and provider healthcare experience that is coherent, connected, coordinated and consistent with patient goals.

Connect Care will go a long way towards bringing continuity to healthcare in Alberta. Its integrated clinical information system (CIS) will replace most of the >1,300 health information systems currently in place across Alberta Health Services (AHS) and affiliated organizations. When fully implemented in late 2022, the CIS will be used by all providers where AHS is accountable for the record of care.

A variety of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) facilitate primary and specialty healthcare where Connect Care is not the record of care. Without ways to bridge these information spaces (CIS and EMR), continuity is broken.

One bridge is provided by Alberta's provincial Electronic Health RecordNetcare, which aggregates key health information and makes it available to authorized providers. Netcare is improved when Connect Care deploys because it gains a wider range of information from a single, standards-based, CIS source.

Another bridge is provided through "eDelivery" of health information from Connect Care and Netcare to Alberta EMRs. This too is improved with Connect Care. More information in a more consistent format is easier for EMRs to capture and organize.

Two new initiatives promise even better connections. AHS, the Alberta Medical Association and Alberta Health are promoting two-way health information sharing between EMRs and Netcare through "Community Information Integration" (CII) and a "Central Patient Attachment Registry" (CPAR). These allow patients to be linked to a medical home, and for that home to share information with Netcare. The CII will extend sharing to include the CIS in 2020 and CPAR will both inform and be informed by what happens where Connect Care is the record of care.

Working together, Alberta's CIS, EHR, EMR, CII and CPAR help to defragment the health information space; bringing continuity to Albertans' experience of healthcare.

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