Alberta Health Services Image and Report Repositories

Distributing Imaging Records to Thousands

Alberta Health Services (AHS), one of the world’s largest health authorities, created repositories of medical records information for the use by authorized clinicians through the Province of Alberta Netcare electronic health records portal. The information includes primarily pharmacology, laboratory, and diagnostic imaging reports and images.

Since the majority of health care spending in Alberta is through primary care, the reports and images from diagnostic imaging clinics is a key element for a complete electronic health record. In 2007, after AltaPACS converted RCA and EFW into digital operations, AHS sought out a partner to develop a solution to transmit all private community clinic reports and images in real time. Given that RCA and EFW encompassed over 80% of all clinical volumes in Calgary, AHS chose to work with AltaPACS as its partner.

The design introduces patient identity validation upon registration of the patient at an RCA or EFW clinic, using a query to an Enterprise Master Patient Index. Once an order has been validated with the correct patient match, any subsequent report is sent electronically within 20 minutes of dictation and is then instantly available in Netcare. Images are forwarded in a similar fashion, using technology to suspend and delay any image transmission unless there is a patient identity match.

The design was implemented in 2009 and shared with other community providers, and today well over 95% of all community clinic reports and images in the Province of Alberta are forwarded to AHS repositories in real time.