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Healthcare 101

Background

This information will help us, as people who live in Alberta, understand our healthcare system. The idea originally came from Albertans, patients, and family members who partner with healthcare providers and want to feel more prepared when deciding to volunteer and work to improve the​ health system.

Free, online information has been designed to help people learn about what Albertans have said is important. Interested volunteers are helping to create these modules. Here are the 4 themes:

  1. Healthcare Basics for Albertans: Putting a very complex group of organizations into perspective so that you can see your place within our system. This first module will help you learn about different healthcare features so that you can talk about your own health better.
  2. Finding My Way: Helping me find what I need – navigating the health system
  3. Being my own advocate: Speaking up for my own healthcare and how I experience healthcare.
  4. My rights: Knowing that I do have healthcare rights and learning what areas of my health I am responsible for.​​​​

Themes 2 to 4 will come in the future. They haven’t been finished yet.​​

What Are the Benefits of Healthcare 101?

  • Helps you experience the healthcare system in a more prepared way.
  • Supports you to understand and be involved in taking an active role with the healthcare system.
  • Provides education and information that meets your needs as an Albertan.

Why Healthcare 101?

People have shared advice on building the first Healthcare 101 module:

From a person who’s been homeless:

  • “Start with being VERY careful about your language on the website and be caring. Speak to us right up front and SHOW us that you care.”

From a healthcare provider:

  • “I think that if more people understood how Alberta Health Services fits in with the provincial government, they would have an understanding of the immense pressures we are facing and better allow the public to give their views.”

From someone who’s experienced poverty:

  • “Make sure you tell us what the health system cannot do too. That is a social justice issue.”
  • “Every patient needs to be an expert in their own health.”
  • “Don’t you know that I want to get better?”

People who responded on social media to help create the content for Healthcare 101 explain why they’re interested in helping this project:

  • “I am single and I am concerned about the issues facing single people without family support.”
  • “I’ve always thought that if people understood more about our healthcare system, there would be more appreciation for it, better use of services, and more patients and family members who were informed and engaged in their care.”
  • “As someone who has a chronic illness and has experienced the health system through many clinics, I bring a unique perspective as a young adult but also want the public to understand the complexity of our health system.“
  • “Make sure you warn people that parking is going to cost them a lot.”
  • “I am very passionate about education on applicable, day-to-day healthcare, as opposed to the case studies in Alberta schools about ideologies behind healthcare, which are helpful for textbook learning, but not for a patient or family member using medical services.”
  • “I want to ensure a youth voice is heard while this program is being created so that it can serve all the demographics who use AHS.”
  • “As a caregiver of a patient with incurable cancer, I was immersed in the Alberta Healthcare System and decided that I needed to give back but also contribute my thoughts and experiences, so that perhaps things might be better for patients and their families in the future.”

About Healthcare 101

The Healthcare 101 project team is organized into a Task Force, and a Content Support Team. In January 2017, about 50 people from across Alberta contributed their ideas for what should be included in Healthcare 101.

Between IMAGINE: CITIZENS Collaborating for Health, the Strategic Clinical Networks™, and our partner organizations, we have a lot of skill and experience in co-creation and bringing key stakeholders and people like you together, to make sure our work is successful.

The Content Support team (public members and healthcare providers) organized resources, themes and services using the 4 areas of Alberta’s Quality Matrix for Health:

  • Being Healthy
  • Getting Better
  • Living with Illness or Disability
  • End of Life

Once the themes were identified the teams met every week for 2 months with the Module 1 writer to develop the content. MyHealth.Alberta staff then worked with the writer to finalize the content. Our public members continued to be involved to review the health literacy edits and to reduce medical jargon as much as possible. The next phase of the work included moving the module to MyHealth.Alberta.ca. This streamlines the format and allows the information to be included with the rest of the information on the MyHealth.Alberta website.

Healthcare Basics for Albertans

Albertans and patients have the right to learn about and understand the basics of the healthcare system. This helps them navigate and be an active partner in their healthcare journey.

In January 2017, Albertans and healthcare staff on the Content Support team suggested some content for the 3 future modules. A lot of work has been noted as important. The next 3 themes will include information as follows:

Finding My Way​​

When you have a healthcare question, talking to a registered nurse can make all the difference. Calling Health Link Alberta at 811 line is a great place to start.

Being My Own Advocate

Learn how Alberta’s Patients First programs are working for a person-centred healthcare system. Learn more here!​

My Rights

While we all want things to go smoothly every time, it doesn’t always happen that way. If things don’t go right you can talk to someone about it. Contact Alberta Health Services’ Patient Concerns and Feedback if you were a patient in an AHS facility or clinic. You can also contact the appropriate professional colleges that govern healthcare professionals. The Alberta Health Advocates’ office can also help you find out how to report things to the right place.

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