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Website launched for orthopaedics in Alberta

CALGARY – The Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute (ABJHI) has launched the first website in Alberta to provide care paths that describe the course of events and actions to deliver optimal orthopaedic care to patients. The paths cover the entire continuum of care from primary through to rehabilitation.

The ABJHI website also provides healthcare professionals with templates that for the first time in Alberta standardize the collection and reporting of orthopaedic patient information.

In addition, the website now offers physicians and other healthcare professionals access to expedited reviews of evidence on health technologies and procedures used in orthopaedic care.

The evidence reviews will be a tool that surgeons, specialists and family doctors can use to assess current medical literature on orthopaedic technologies and procedures, and to help make choices based on the latest evidence when developing a course of treatment for their patients. The reviews will also be accessible by health regions, which search out evidence to help guide policy decisions related to prevention, diagnosis and treatment services available under public healthcare.

“Obtaining, synthesizing and communicating evidence are primary roles of the ABJHI,” said Dr. Ron Zernicke, Executive Director of the ABJHI. “Decisions about what is safe and effective for patients should be based on the best evidence available worldwide, in combination with sound medical judgment.

“The ABJHI has developed an appraisal system that expedites the search, evaluation and reporting of evidence,” said Dr. Zernicke. “Physicians and other healthcare professionals, as well as public health regions, will have secure access via our website to up-to-date reports on health technologies and procedures in orthopaedics.”

The ABJHI now provides care paths for hip and knee problems, which are growing as Alberta’s population ages. Care paths are being developed for other orthopaedic conditions, such as back and spine problems, which are among the major causes of doctor visits.

The new templates are a critical first step toward creating a common electronic medical record system to support an integrated orthopaedic service delivery network across Alberta. A common electronic medical record system would replace the assortment of stand-alone systems, some still paper-based, used by orthopaedic healthcare professionals. It would provide the data to evaluate and monitor orthopaedic demand, services and procedures, helping to match resources to demand and identify areas that require improvement.

About the Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute
The Alberta Bone and Joint Health Institute is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating and maintaining a standard of bone and joint health and healthcare that is the best in the world. The ABJHI’s work is focused on improving access to and enhancing the quality and efficiency of care, advancing research and knowledge, and promoting prevention and wellness.