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My Alberta eHealth Journey

my alberta ehealth journey

Today, I will reflect on my Alberta eHealth journey over the past 30 years. We finally have a pretty good system in place after many struggles.

Recently, while helping with my wife’s stroke recovery, I have made extensive use of Alberta’s online Connect Care system. I can communicate directly with doctors and other care provides, schedule appointments and tests, and review results. We have come a long way since my journey started.

Back in the mid 90’s, Alberta had over 200 local health boards, including 150 stand-alone hospitals. By 2000, these had been amalgamated into regional health authorities. Today, we have one system with unified administration, governance and information systems.

Consider that in 1996, I was hired to review all of the province’s health-related information systems. At the time, these contained over 30 different health records and 15 health financial systems. It was a mess, with limited adoption of standards and almost no interoperability.

Ten years later, I worked for a national consortium, Canada Health Infoway, to develop a strategy for accelerating adoption of Electronic Health Records by Canada’s doctors, nurses and pharmacists. At the time, EHR was a dream for which there was no shared vision.

Now, another 20 years of work and investment has resulted in pretty good health information systems in Canadian jurisdictions. And, we are reaping the benefits.

My Alberta eHealth Journey – Alberta Connect Care and More

Using a system of systems approach, we have accomplished unification of more than 1300 different information systems in the Alberta Health System. What’s more, community physicians’ Electronic Medical Records systems can interoperate with Albert Netcare through a portal. We are getting very close to accessing all health and medical records through one connection.

On top of that, we link all the laboratory tests. Text and e-mail messaging between patients and providers is becoming a routine procedure. Well done. I feel my small efforts over the past 30 years helped us move in the right direction.

You can review the Alberta Connect Care roadmap here. And, if you are interested in the “system of systems” approach, read my 2011 White Paper on the subject.

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