“That is great news for Albertans and an important achievement for Canada,” says Dr. Verna Yiu, AHS President and CEO. “We are doing exceptional work in this area — and although there is still more work to be done we are very proud of this recognition for AHS.”
The Congress, held May 23-25, brought together healthcare leaders from 43 countries and numerous health systems from within those countries.
“Congratulations to AHS and all of its hardworking staff for this outstanding achievement,” says Sarah Hoffman, Minister of Health. “Alberta is in a unique position to have one health authority that works collaboratively with its partners to support the health needs of all Albertans. We know there’s more work to do to build a truly integrated health-care system, but this recognition tells us we’re making significant progress and we should be proud of our accomplishments so far.”
Prior to the meeting, submissions on accomplishments related to health systems were requested from delegates. The Netherlands received the Integrated Care Prize for having the most integrated health system in the world, as chosen from a short list of five – which included Alberta.
“International delegates were very impressed with what’s happening in our province in terms of integration and ensuring all parts of the health system, and all teams, work together to provide seamless care for patients and families,” says Dr. Richard Lewanczuk, AHS Senior Medical Director of Primary Health Care, who attended the Congress and presented on behalf of AHS.
“We have lots to be proud of at AHS,” he adds. “During a real-time poll of delegates at the Congress, Alberta was ranked second in the world, just behind the world leader, Netherlands, as the national health system from which the most could be learned.”
Representatives from Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Belgium all expressed interest in learning more about what’s being done in Alberta to integrate care.
Dr. Yiu says the interest from abroad is welcome. “I was pleased to hear of this but I was not entirely surprised because I have encountered similar reactions when I have travelled nationally and internationally to talk about the work of Alberta Health Services,” she says.
Alberta’s single healthcare system is unique in that it brings together acute care, continuing care, home care, public health, addictions and mental health, emergency medical services and cancer care under a single authority.
Additionally, the Primary Health Care Integration Network was launched just last year to support better integration of primary care with acute, emergency and specialty care as well as with social care organizations and other key services and programs.
Meanwhile, Connect Care, the provincial electronic medical records system, and the new provincialized lab model, will enable greater integration when they come on stream in the next few years.
Alberta Health Services is the provincial health authority responsible for planning and delivering health supports and services for more than four million adults and children living in Alberta. Its mission is to provide a patient-focused, quality health system that is accessible and sustainable for all Albertans.