The Alberta Health Services (AHS) 2021-22 Annual Report encompasses a 12-month period during which the organization supported Albertans through the second year of the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Much of the organization's work involved supporting the pharmacy community's rollout of COVID-19 testing and immunizations, as well as the fluid escalation and de-escalation of the healthcare delivery system in response to surges in acute-care demand caused by the pandemic. In 2021-22, AHS demonstrated an ability to be nimble but also to multi-task. This Annual Report shows that, as AHS was responding to the significant daily challenges posed by COVID-19, the organization was also making progress on many other fronts, including recommendations in the AHS Performance Review.
Over these 12 months, AHS expanded the volume and scope of virtual care, enabling Albertans to receive more community- and home-based care. Addiction and mental health counselling, chronic disease management programming and ambulatory care visits were offered virtually, when appropriate, improving access to these services (especially for Albertans in rural and remote communities). Using digital remote monitoring, more Albertans received hospital-level care in their home, supported by multi-disciplinary care teams. AHS' provincial clinical information system Connect Care is a key enabler of increased community-based care and healthcare integration. Launch 3 of 9 in Connect Care's phased rollout occurred in 2021-22, as did significant planning for Launch 4 at sites in Edmonton and Calgary.
Also in 2021-22, AHS laid the groundwork for improved access, responsiveness and financial sustainability. The Alberta Surgical Initiative, developed with Alberta Health in 2019, aims to ensure all Albertans receive scheduled surgeries within clinically appropriate timeframes. The EMS 10-Point Plan was implemented to better manage high volumes of EMS calls, freeing ambulances for urgent care needs and enhancing the resilience of our EMS workforce. Meanwhile, AHS administration remains the leanest in the country, at less than three per cent of total expenses¹.
This Annual Report shows that, while our people responded to the immediate and pressing demands of COVID-19, they also took proactive, tangible action toward addressing the gaps and shortcomings highlighted by the pandemic.
We are so incredibly proud of staff, physicians and volunteers whose hard work, dedication and sacrifice have supported Albertans during a global health emergency. With one eye on the here and now, and one eye on the future, our people have AHS moving in the right direction — and we trust the work highlighted in this document led to significant improvements in healthcare quality, accessibility, responsiveness and sustainability.
AHS Board Chair
AHS Interim President & CEO