The ISF has afforded many opportunities for establishing and improving processes for sharing Health Information in AHS-hosted ambulatory care Electronic Medical Records (EMR). In order to accommodate AHS’ evolving health information systems, growth of Clinical Information Systems (CIS and Connect Care) beyond outpatient settings, as well as to keep pace with increased pressures associated with maintaining quality health care, the ISF is being replaced with a new Information Sharing Approach.
To support this transition, an agreement to amend and terminate the ISF has been approved by Alberta Health Services, the Alberta Medical Association and Covenant Health.
The ISF establishes shared control of health information stored in designated Alberta Health Services’ operated EMR systems. It ensures that all custodians that contribute health information to the shared EMRs, referred to as “EMR Custodians” under the agreements, have an equal voice in determining how health information in these systems is used, disclosed and protected. The ISF Governance Committee (ISF GC) is the only entity that can modify the legal agreements that underpin the ISF.
“The Information Sharing Framework (ISF) marks an important milestone in the development of shared electronic medical solutions. For the first time, governance, responsibility and accountability for a single zonal ambulatory patient record is shared by Alberta Health Services (AHS) and participating physicians.
The ISF reflects over two years of negotiation between AHS and the Alberta Medical Association (AMA) on behalf of participating physicians. It ensures that decisions about the use, disclosure and protection of information in a designated shared EMR are made not by a single party, but rather by a governance body that reflects the interests of all EMR Custodians. It also creates a neutral Information Stewardship Office that is tasked with monitoring compliance and supporting positive privacy practices.
The ISF provides mechanisms through which participating physicians can meet their legal and professional obligations. The ISF, which was vetted by the OIPC and CPSA during development, contains the information management agreements and information sharing agreements required under both the Health Information Act and CPSA Standards of Practice.
Finally, the ISF allows us to meet important ethical obligations to our patients and our colleagues. It establishes a framework where the enhanced risks we all share in making additional health information available through a shared EMR are assessed and mitigated.
We welcome your participation in the ISF and encourage you to contact either of us with your questions and comments.”
Dr. Rob Hayward (ISF GC Co-Chair, AHS) | Dr. Steve Edworthy (ISF GC Co-Chair, AMA)