Abstract

Alberta is undertaking a bold and somewhat risky step overhauling its health system governance to build higher performance in quality, safety and improved health outcomes for Albertans. On the heels of having re-established a single province-wide health authority (Alberta Health Services [AHS]), provincial health system decision makers have moved to establish province-wide Strategic Clinical Networks™ (SCNs). Sixteen SCNs have been implemented, and all are constituted as teams of healthcare professionals, researchers, government stakeholders, patients and families seeking to improve delivery of healthcare across the province. SCNs were developed in part as a strategy for strengthening clinical engagement to achieve a broad range of healthcare delivery benefits including improvement of clinical care processes and reduced variations in practice, better access to care and improved patient outcomes across the province. Here, we examine the rationale and potential of this governance intervention, while also considering some of the fundamental questions around their potential impact and the ultimate need for multidimensional assessment.