In a unique audit of the province’s new clinical information system, Auditor General Doug Wylie found Alberta Health Services (AHS) had good processes in place to support the first wave of the launch of Connect Care in November 2019.
“While AHS experienced a few technical issues, some service delays, and some initial frustrations immediately after the launch, we found it had processes, controls and plans in place to launch the first wave of Connect Care,” Auditor General Doug Wylie said.
This audit was unique in that it was conducted before AHS launched the first wave of Connect Care at the Walter MacKenzie Health Sciences Centre and various ambulatory clinics and pharmacies in the Edmonton area. The Auditor General does not normally audit processes or systems until they are implemented. However, because of the size and scope of the project, combined with the potential risk if something were to go wrong, Wylie said it warranted an audit before and during its launch.
“We developed this audit to look at the most common and significant causes of past IT system failures and successes, and to flag potential problems to AHS before it launched Connect Care,” Wylie said. “This could allow us to identify potential problems and add an outside perspective on important parts of the program in advance, rather than after the fact.”
At a cost of $1 billion, Connect Care is a clinical information system that will connect 100,000 users at AHS hospitals, clinics, and the labs and partners that support them. AHS is planning to launch the system in a series of nine waves, between fall 2019 and fall 2022. There are currently no plans to implement Connect Care at primary care networks (PCNs), or other clinics or clinical setting not administered by AHS.
Wylie noted the findings of the audit of the Wave One launch does not guarantee similar results for the future eight waves of implementation, adding he plans to complete future audits on Connect Care, as AHS continues its implementation, and has an opportunity to stabilize its ongoing operations.