How can AHS Outlook 365 Calendars be Viewed in Other Calendar Applications?

Question: How can AHS Outlook 365 calendar schedules be viewed in external calendar applications?

Context: Alberta Health Services (AHS) has recently upgraded its email infrastructure and now uses Microsoft Outlook (Office 365), which is accessible through the Outlook Web Portal at and from personal mobile devices that are enrolled in the AHS "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) program. A desktop version of Outlook will be available for personal devices enrolled in BYOD. 

Many physicians relate to more than one organization (e.g., AHS, University, Professional Group) and so use communications services hosted by more than one organization. Appointment coordination, among other tasks, is facilitated by access to more than one calendar. 

Previously, it was possible to view AHS mail and calendars alongside other mail and events using popular communication managers (e.g., Outlook, Apple Mail, Google Mail, Thunderbird, Spark). The AHS Office 365 configuration no longer interacts directly with non-Microsoft communication managers. Physicians can still provide read-only information from their AHS calendar via indirect means. 

AnswerSharing of a personal calendar in Office 365 is only available between individuals using the AHS version of Outlook. Publishing a calendar allows anyone with the link to have a read-only view of your AHS calendar. Subscribing to a calendar allows a user to view someone else’s Outlook calendar from a third-party calendar program.

How is "COVID-19-related MIS" added to Problem Lists?

Question:  How is “COVID-19–related multisystem inflammatory syndrome” codified for addition to problem lists, chief complaints, admitting or discharge diagnoses?

Context:  The novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 is associated with coronavirus disease syndromes collectively referred to as COVID-19. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems Tenth Revision, Canada (ICD-10-CA) has recently added a newly codified COVID-19 health state for “COVID-19–related multisystem inflammatory syndrome.” This is available in Connect Care and is complemented by physician-friendly synonyms. Use of the correct code is important for reporting and clinical decision supports.

Answer:  A previous posting addresses general COVID-19 diagnoses. When seeking the “COVID-19-related multisystem inflammatory syndrome” in pick-lists, enter “COVID” as a search term. A number of matching clinical terms will be displayed for selection, with each appropriately coded. The relevant options for “COVID-19-related multisystem inflammatory syndrome” are:

  • MIS-C associated with COVID-19
  • multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with 2019 novel coronavirus in pediatric patient
  • MIS-A associated with COVID-19
  • multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 in adult
  • multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with 2019-nCoV in pediatric patient
  • multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in adult
  • multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection in pediatric patient
  • multisystem inflammatory syndrome associated with COVID-19 in pediatric patient

For questions, comments or feedback, contact:

How can I line up Home Care Services for Inpatients?

Question: When discharge planning, how can arrangements for home care be ordered for inpatients prior to discharge?

Context: The requested home care services will be fulfilled outside the current inpatient admission. Consequently, these orders are not available in the inpatient orders catalogue, and physicians may wonder how specific requests can be placed. 

Answer: Home care referrals and service requests can be entered as "external orders" via a tab within the Orders activity in an inpatient encounter. If proximate to discharge, they can also be entered within the Discharge Orders portion of the Discharge Navigator. 

In many cases, these orders are entered by transition coordinators or nurses, with a prescriber co-sign. Specific medication monitoring, professional service and other requests need to be entered with a Home Care Service Order. Step-by-step instructions are provided:

How can I place an Inpatient Order for a DI Procedure at another Site?

Question: How can a prescriber place an order for a Diagnostic Imaging (DI) procedure not in the host facility's inpatient order catalogue?

Context: Inpatients at some facilities may require urgent or semi-urgent DI interventions that are not available at the patient’s current facility. The patient needs to be sent to another facility using a “Leave of Absence for Procedure” workflow. 

However, the intended procedure is (by definition) not available at the host facility and so will not appear on the facility inpatient order list. How is the prescriber to enter an order for an external procedure at another facility?

Answer: When a DI intervention must be performed at a separate facility, the relevant order must be placed using the “External Orders” tab within the inpatient “Orders” activity. External Orders gives access to the outpatient order catalogue. This is important to appreciate because the ordering process may include wording more familiar in an outpatient context. The associated order composer has provisions for both destination facilities that use and do not use Connect Care:

What is my Department?

Question: When logging on to Connect Care, how can I find the correct "department" to select in order to proceed?

Context: When logging on to Connect Care, one must select a "department". This is an "Epic Department," and not what one might normally consider as an organizational department. Each CIS department is configured to ensure that the user is presented with an appropriate user interface and that lists match what is locally available (e.g., medications, procedures).

CIS department names can be confusing. The Connect Care list includes all possible groupings in the province of Alberta. A naming convention uses AHS standard acronyms for locations (e.g., EDM UAH) plus function-specific keywords (e.g., INFECTION CONTROL). After one has used personally relevant login departments, these are automatically saved as favourites, with the most recently used department defaulted at login.

Answer: New users may need to do some digging to find the small number of departments that they will usually log on to. The fastest answer may come from asking a Super User or colleague. 

The following tools give access to full listings of AHS CIS departments with supplemental information that can help troubleshoot department choice challenges:

How can I report a Device Incident?

Question: Is there a way for clinicians to submit a device incident report through the Connect Care clinical information system (CIS)?

Context: Medical devices are regulated by Health Canada, which mandates that device-related safety risks be reported. Medical devices include clinical equipment (e.g. IV pumps, ventilators, vitals monitors, etc.) and clinical consumables (e.g., pacemakers, PICC lines, artificial joints, etc.). A device-related event is any incident, or condition that could have resulted or did result in harm to a patient and involves a device or CIS interface to a device. 

Alberta Health Services (AHS) uses a single, province-wide system for device incident reporting. The Medical Device Incidents or Problems (MDIP) reporting system can be accessed directly within Connect Care.

Note that AHS uses is a separate system (Reporting & Learning System for Patient Safety, RLS) for reporting other patient safety events.

Answer: The MDIP device incident reporting system is integrated with the Connect Care CIS. Users can submit a report from within Connect Care. Use the Search function (top right in Hyperspace) to search for "MDIP" then select the appropriate activity where a report workflow is launched. MDIP also appears near the top of the Epic menu structure. 

Be sure to indicate a Connect Care relationship in the comments if it is believed that the device incident relates to an interface to the Connect Care CIS.

  • Be sure to check the question “Was digital health technology a factor” as "Yes". 
  • If a helpdesk ( service ticket was created, please include the ticket number in the description of the incident. 
  • If the device incident was specific to a particular patient care workflow, please add the medical record number (MRN) to the description.
  • If available, note the device identification number in the description of the incident. This can be found on an AHS sticker applied to the device.
  • QuickReference: Reporting Safety Events Online
If a device issue is urgent, be sure to locate the device sticker number and call 1-877-311-4300.

How can I Report a Patient Safety Event?

Question: Is there a way for clinicians to submit a patient safety event or concern through the Connect Care clinical information system?

Context: A patient safety event is an event, incident, or condition that could have resulted or did result in harm to a patient. An event can be, but is not necessarily, the result of a defective system or process design, a system breakdown, equipment failure, or human error. This includes how a clinical information system (CIS) may affect the risk for or handling of an event.

Alberta Health Services (AHS) uses a single, province-wide system for patient safety reporting. The Reporting & Learning System for Patient Safety (RLS) supports a just culture that includes reporting and learning as key elements of quality care. Consistent reporting of hazards, close calls and adverse events is encouraged for the purpose of learning about and improving patient safety throughout the health care system.

Note that AHS uses is a separate system (Medical Device Incidents or Problems, MDIPs) for reporting device-specific malfunctions.

Answer: The RLS patient safety reporting system is integrated with the Connect Care CIS. Users can describe an event and submit a report from within Connect Care. Use the Search function (top right in Hyperspace) to search for "RLS" then select the appropriate activity where different types of safety events are presented for reporting. RLS also appears near the top of the Epic menu structure. 

Use the "Other Patient Safety Event" category to report safety events that are felt to be attributable to, or aggravated by, any software within the Connect Care CIS. 

  • Be sure to check the question “Was digital health technology a factor” as "Yes".  
  • If a helpdesk ( service ticket was created, please include the ticket number in the description of the event. 
  • If the safety event was specific to a particular patient care workflow, please add the medical record number (MRN) to the description of the event.
  • QuickReference: Reporting Safety Events Online

How can I correct my Provider Contact Information?

Question: Some providers express concern about how their name, and possibly some address information, appears in After Visit Summaries and other Connect Care communications. How can this be changed?

Context: Basic identification and contact information for Connect Care prescribers comes from the clinical information system provider registry. Seeded from Medical Affairs and Licensing Organization databases, this information may be out of date. Indeed, some physicians may have provided a home address for professional communications and wish to change to something safer for digital records. 

Answer: It is easy to check how Connect Care describes a provider, as this information appears in the "Phone Book", available to all authorized users. 

The easiest way to find and open the Phone Book is to enter "phone" in the Hyperspace Search (top right) box. Observe menu options that pop up and select the "Phone Book" activity.
  • Use the "People" tab in the Phone Book and search for your name.
  • Make sure that you have no duplicate entries (if so, report as instructed below).
  • Select the row corresponding to your name in the Phone Book search results.
  • Confirm accuracy and appropriateness of the address, phone number and other information listed.
If changes are required, go to In Basket, and select the "Provider Demographic Update" option from the drop-list that appears when selecting the "New Message" command button. Follow instructions embedded in the message. You can find your "Provider ID" by using Search to open the "Session Information" activity, look in the "Login Information" section, and find the number in square brackets for the "Linked Provider".

How can External Mail and Calendars be viewed in the AHS instance of Outlook 365?

Question: How can external email messages and calendar schedules be displayed alongside AHS content using the AHS Outlook 365 communications service?

Context: Alberta Health Services (AHS) has recently upgraded its email infrastructure and now uses Microsoft Outlook (Office 365), which is accessible through the Outlook Web Portal at and from personal mobile devices that are enrolled in the AHS ‘Bring Your Own Device’ (BYOD) program. A desktop version of Outlook will be available for personal devices enrolled in BYOD. 

Many physicians relate to more than one organization (e.g., AHS, University, Professional Group, etc.) and so use communications services hosted by more than one organization. Appointment coordination, among other tasks, is facilitated by integrated access to more than one communication service. 

Previously, it was possible to view AHS mail and calendars alongside other mail and events using popular communication managers (e.g., Outlook, Apple Mail, Google Mail, Thunderbird, Spark, etc.). AHS has changed its configuration to disallow other communications software; restricting email and calendar access to Microsoft Outlook products (web, mobile, device). Physicians who wish to work with more than one communication source simultaneously must do this through Outlook 365. 

Answer: More than one email account can be viewed in Outlook 365 mobile when installed on a device enrolled in the AHS BYOD program. The web instance of AHS's Outlook 365 provides access to AHS mail (but not external accounts). The mobile and web versions of Outlook 365 can support simultaneous viewing of AHS and external calendar information. In future, AHS will allow enrollment of personal devices (e.g., desktop and laptop computers) in the BYOD program, at which time Outlook 365 applications will become accessible on those platforms.

AHS Outlook 365 users should be aware of configured limitations to the use of multiple email and/or calendar accounts:
  • Email and calendar events cannot be automatically forwarded from AHS accounts to external accounts.
  • Email and calendar events cannot be copied or moved from an AHS account to an external account within Outlook 365, and vice versa (note this when considering how to manage email folders and archives).
  •  It is no longer possible to view or manage AHS email or calendar information with software applications other than AHS's instance of Outlook 365.

How can "Non-Standard" Medications be Ordered?

Question: When an inpatient medication is not found on the Connect Care facility list, is there a way to order (request) its use during hospital care?

Context: Whereas outpatient medication orders represent what is dispensable from any of many community pharmacies, inpatient medications reflect what is approved, available and configured within a particular facility. Some medications may not be on the facility formulary but still possible to procure or make.  

For example, melatonin can be used for seniors' sleep-cycle regulation. While the AHS Drugs & Therapeutics Committee has removed this non-formulary medication from inpatient facility lists, there may be reason to continue the medication at admission for some patients. Other non-standard medications can be made available in some facilities.

Answer: If a medication cannot be found on inpatient facility order lists (be sure to try different spellings and the generic drug name), it is likely non-standard. A pharmacist will need to check to see if it can be provided. 

The ordering prescriber should request the medication by placing a "Non Standard Medication" order. Enter "non-standard" in the order search box (using the "Facility List" tab if needed). Other synonyms will work including "Other", "Non-formulary", "Custom", "Unable" and "Non".

Upon selecting the "Non Standard Medication" order, one is presented with a popup requiring the drug name, form (e.g., "tablet"), request reason (e.g., "patient taking"), together with details of dose, route and frequency.

Once all details are entered, the specific non-standard medication order can be saved as a favourite (be sure to copy in the drug identification details and suitably name the favourite before saving). This will allow the medication to be ordered in the future without having to enter all the data required of a de-novo non-standard order.

How are Triplicate (Duplicate) Prescriptions handled in Connect Care?

Question: How should prescribers handle triplicate (or newer duplicate) prescriptions required for outpatient use of controlled substances?

Context: The Alberta Triplicate Prescription Program (now a duplicate program) monitors use of prescription drugs prone to abuse. It does this by ensuring that such prescriptions are handwritten to prescription pads with security features and copies. Unfortunately, the program has yet to take advantage of the additional security and surveillance made possible by digital health records. It is hoped that the advent of e-prescribing (PrescribeIT) will avoid paper. For now, physicians must follow CPSA requirements:

How, exactly, are Connect Care prescribers to keep a copy of a triplicate (duplicate) prescription?

Answer: Connect Care made application to the Alberta TPP program for workflow adaptations appropriate to a fully integrated clinical information system, like Connect Care. Some recommendations remain under consideration. However, a formal decision has been communicated (July 2019) to the effect that Connect Care prescribers do not need to scan a copy of the TPP paper form to the chart and can follow this workflow:

  • Order all prescriptions in Connect Care, including TPP Alberta specified Type 1 controlled substances.
  • Produce a manual (handwritten) paper 3-part or (newer) 2-part TPP prescription for specified Type 1 controlled substances.
  • Record the TPP prescription identification number (unique to each prescription) in Connect Care (ideally in the comments field of the actual order).
  • Provide the manual-paper TPP to the patient, or fax to the pharmacy (see guide).
  • Destroy any left-over paper copies or artefacts. 
The Connect Care order constitutes the official record. It is NOT necessary to scan or otherwise copy the paper TPP prescription to attach to the Connect Care digital record.

What does the "Accept Charges" Button do in Service Code Capture and can it be Ignored?

Question: What is the function of the "Accept Charges" button, which appears in the Service Code Capture (inpatient and outpatient), and can the button be suppressed or removed?

Context: The Service Code Capture (SCC) activity in Connect Care can be accessed as a tab within inpatient charts and as part of after-visit workflow or an independent activity in outpatient charts. Some prescribers have noticed an "Accept Charges" button towards the bottom of SCC, just above where claims (submitted billing codes) are listed.

Curiosity is increased when noting that failure to select this button does not stop billings from being recorded or processed. Understandably, the same prescribers wonder if clutter could be reduced by removing the button.

Answer: It is true that billings will be submitted and processed (in accordance with the prescriber's billing arrangement with Connect Care) if a charge is created in association with a clinical encounter, irrespective of whether the "Accept Charges" button is selected. The charges are processed when the user navigates away from the SCC (the charge status will change to "filed"). Erroneous charges can be deleted (during a grace period) even if filed.

Clicking on "Accept Charges" will immediately file the billing request while immediately performing any final validations (we do not have many of these). Given Connect Care's current configuration, there is not much to be gained by taking this extra step.

Users can suppress the "Accept Charges" button to make for a more streamlined SCC. Select the personalization button (wrench icon) near the top right of SCC and note that there is an option to "Use slim charge lists". Activating this will suppress the Accept Charges button for the current user.

How can a Scale or Score be Requested for use in Connect Care?

Question: How can addition of a clinical scale or score be requested for the Connect Care clinical information system?

Context: Clinical Scales Scores and Tools (CSST) offer valuable decision supports for estimating risks for and effects of health conditions.  Connect Care provides access to a wide range of common clinical measures, most in forms that allow trending observations over time.

The Connect Care Clinical System Design program ensures that deployed CSST are based on provincially validated instruments that are carefully evaluated for use in Alberta, avoid unhelpful duplication, and have use permissions secured from authors or owners.

Answer: First check to see if a desired CSST is already available in Connect Care as a calculator, advanced flowsheet or SmartForm (see relevant parts of the Manual).

If a case is to be made for a new CSST, there is a process to follow. Complete and submit a CSST Clinical Requirements Form to provide background information about the tool, design details and clinical use cases. This is reviewed by an appropriate Connect Care Area Council. Priorities are established before build work can begin, including securing copyright or licensing arrangements. We ask that applicants do not directly contact copyright owners. AHS legal has developed a process for  that manages risks for AHS and clinicians alike. Any useful contacts can be specified in the requirements form.

How can Special Medication Approvals be Flagged in Patient Charts?

Question: How can patients with special approvals for medication access be flagged within Connect Care?

Context: Patient chart flags (FYIs) are short visual markers and notes associated with a patient record to signify considerations important to patient care. Some health care interventions, usually medications, are available for patient care only given special approvals. Examples include Compassionate Supply, Special Access Program (SAP), and Short Term Exceptional Drug Therapy (STEDT) programs. It can be useful to have a visual indicator on a patient’s chart to signify such approval status, facilitating more efficient pharmacy review of med orders.

Answer: A "Special Medication Approval Status" flag type is available to visually indicate patients accessing interventions under special approvals. Use of this can speed things like pharmacy order review and medication release.

What happens when Therapy Plan orders are changed during a visit?

Question: Physicians may wish to modify a specific order in a patient's therapy plan and need to know how this affects current and future visits.

Context: Therapy protocols help organize the delivery of tests and therapies across multiple encounters for a specific health condition. Therapy plans are patient-specific instances of therapy protocols, with elements selected to suit unique patient needs and constraints.

Answer: When a physician modifies an order in a therapy plan, (s)he will need to re-sign the plan in order for changes to propagate to subsequent encounters. There are some special considerations:

  • If the patient’s plan encounter is ‘today’ with a status of ‘arrived,’ signing a plan-related order will trigger a pop-up that notifies the provider that the patient is currently receiving a relevant intervention. 
  • If changes were intended for an intervention already underway, the provider must call the administering provider(s) to halt a potentially inappropriate medication administration. No call is needed if the ordering physician does not want changes reflected in the current therapy plan intervention.
  • Because changes to therapy plan orders do not change interventions underway, a warning reminds physicians that their work is reflected in future treatments.

How can patients be referred for Virtual Hospital services?

Question: How can patients be referred for possible admission to Virtual Hospital from emergency, inpatient and outpatient settings?

Context: The Edmonton Zone Virtual Hospital and Calgary Zone Complex Care Hub have enjoyed successful trials and are now expanding in their respective zones. They offer person-centered, technology-enabled, integrated “whole of system” modes of care for individuals living with chronic and complex health conditions. Patients admitted to "virtual beds" at home have access to more frequent tracking and monitoring of health functions, with surveillance by the multidisciplinary VH team.

Answer: Patients can be referred from outpatient clinics, emergency rooms and inpatient settings. Note that the label for the appropriate Connect Care order differs depending on context (but is still found with "virtual hospital" as the search term):

  • Inpatient Order = “Inpatient Consult to EZ Virtual Hospital”
  • Emergency Room Order = “Inpatient Consult to EZ Virtual Hospital” (if intent is for patient to be seen before leaving ER)
  • Emergency Room Order for outpatient followup = External Order Tab “Ambulatory Referral to Home Based Acute Care” (if intent is for patient to be reviewed after leaving the ER)
  • Outpatient Order = “Ambulatory Referral to Home Based Acute Care”

How is AHS Secure Email Accessed via a Web Interface?

Question: How can the new AHS secure email service be accessed via the Web and how does the offering differ from use of the full Outlook software application?

Context: Alberta Health Services is upgrading from Microsoft's 2007 Communications Server to infrastructure capable of supporting Office 365 (Outlook 365) and current versions of popular operating systems (Windows, Macintosh, iOS, Android). The change includes an improved user-interface for "webmail" where an internet browser (e.g., Safari, FireFox, Chrome, Edge, Explorer) is used to list, read and respond to email messages. 

Answer: Any of the links below can be used to log on to new AHS webmail using any Internet Browser. The web interface is simple to use and provides access to the same mail, calendar, contacts and tasks found in desktop versions of Outlook. However, some of the more advanced settings and features are not available via the web. 

For example, the Outlook application supports multiple mailbox accounts so that, for example, professional and AHS appointments can be combined in the same calendar view. Outlook webmail provides access to AHS mail, AHS calendars and AHS contacts only.

Most importantly, personal preferences for mail, event and task management (e.g., whether to reply or reply-all) need to be re-configured in webmail. One's settings from desktop or mobile Outlook are not inherited. It is prudent to go through all Outlook webmail settings to ensure that they fit the user's needs.

Who is a Supervising Provider?

Question: Which physician name should be selected by trainees when specifying their Supervising Provider?

Context: Trainees (medical students and residents) select a "Supervising Prescriber" when logging on to Connect Care, as previously posted. We've also posted about why this is important and what Connect Care activities are impacted in inpatient and outpatient settings.

While it is usually obvious to trainees who their Supervising Prescriber is, there are times when trainees cover multiple services or physicians and so see patients who have different attending physicians.

Answer: A supervising prescriber (physician) supervises another physician for some aspect of care provision. Trainees and some other clinicians (e.g., clinical assistants) are licensed to care for patients only while under the supervision of another fully licensed physician.

The supervising physician for a trainee is the physician accountable for the trainee's actions when orders are signed. During weekdays, this is usually the attending physician. However, after regular working hours, responsibility for patient care may be assigned to an on-call physician (also fully licensed and usually on the same specialty service).

To be sure, a resident should consider which staff physician (not a higher level trainee, but the fully qualified physician on service or call) the resident would call in the event of an emergency. That is who the trainee is acting on behalf of.

In a consultation context (inpatient or emergency consults), the same test applies. Consider who (staff physician) is called to discuss the case (or, who the senior resident or fellow would have to call). That consulting physician of the time is the supervising physician.

The supervising physician is NOT the resident training program director, a more senior trainee, or some other physician not directly accountable for the clinical care that the trainee is providing at the time an order is entered.

How do Connect Care physicians relate to the BrightSquid secure messaging solution?

Question: With Alberta Health announcing availability of another secure messaging service for patients and physicians, what does this mean for users of the Connect Care clinical information system?

Context: Alberta Health has contracted with Telus to make secure patient-physician messaging services more accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic; with BrightSquid the selected provider. An offering, branded as "MHR Secure Mail", is available at no cost to participating physicians until July 31, 2020. This will be promoted to Albertans. Patients may wonder whether or when they should use BrightSquid. Physicians may wonder when to use an existing AHS messaging system and when to use BrightSquid. The systems currently do not interoperate.

Answer: AHS strongly supports secure messaging solutions that meet regulatory requirements for messaging between patients and their physicians. This BrightSquid service promoted by Alberta Health until July 31, 2020, is one of many options. AHS supports physicians choosing a solution that best meets their practice requirements... and making sure that they have the required Privacy Impact Assessment addendum in place.

Physicians with independent clinics may elect to use the BrightSquid system alongside their existing electronic or paper records. Where AHS bears responsibility for the record of care (EMR or CIS), physicians should use AHS within-system secure patient communication tools or, failing that, AHS Secure Email.

How can Patient Consent to Virtual Care be Documented?

Question: How is patient consent to Virtual Care effectively documented?

Context: While written consent is not required when using telephone or teleconferencing technology to interact with patients patients should be informed about their options when switching from in-person to virtual care and their agreement to proceed should be recorded in the legal record of care.

Answer: The outcome of efforts to inform and the resulting decision(s) can be documented with a simple SmartPhrase.