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Alberta Health Services – Calgary Zone

Advanced, flexible technology improves emergency care at Alberta Health Services

Alberta Health Services (AHS) provides healthcare and wellness services to nearly 4 million residents of Alberta and surrounding Canadian provinces. Working closely with each other, the clinical business and informatics teams in the Calgary Zone use Allscripts Sunrise™ to improve emergency care and clinical outcomes through faster interventions with sepsis, intelligent order sets for more effective medication use, and providing information to help physicians evaluate their clinical performance.


The AHS facilities within the province’s Calgary region set out to improve care through clinical information technology solutions. Through its seven emergency department (ED) facilities—including four adult EDs, one pediatric ED, two urgent care centers—AHS Calgary Zone has more than 480,000 patient visits each year

In 2013, AHS ED changed from multiple systems to the open Sunrise platform, which enables the organization to integrate with a wide range of applications. Within a short time of using the solution, AHS Calgary Zone increased Computerized Physician Order Entry (CPOE) to 100% at facilities that previously had rates of 42%, 32% and zero.

To help prioritize information technology efforts in the ED, Alberta Health Services established an ED Clinical Informatics Committee in 2015. This team evaluates and coordinates IT requests across multiple emergency sites and ensures alignment with provincial priorities. The long-term vision is to achieve a full electronic health record (EHR) with CPOE, clinical documentation and clinical decision support.

”We have just completed a complex care plan for a high-risk patient. As a result of the standardized care plan for a single patient, there was a dramatic reduction in ED visits by 62% and hospitalizations resulting in an estimated savings of $250,000.”

Key Outcomes

  • Reduced time from triage to antibiotics for sepsis patients from 150 to 125 minutes (16%) in four months. One site dropped the time in half, from 160 minutes to 80 minutes
  • Standardized care plans help reduce ED visits and cost. In one case, it decreased a single patient’s ED visits by 62%, and reduced hospitalizations, resulting in an estimated savings of CA$250,000
  • Enabled 100% physicians to access clinical performance indicators
  • Increased use of IV hydromorphone by 6.9%, with a projected annual savings of CA$97,812
  • Increased use of lower dose of Ondansetron by 5.7%, with a projected annual savings of CA$84,987

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