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The Design Principles

Alberta Virtual Care Design Principles

Virtual care Design Principles were developed based on the agreed characteristics of an idealized virtual care system. They dictate clear parameters for virtual care that, taken together, present a collective vision for an optimized virtual care system. The Design Principles can serve as a unifying blueprint for enterprise system design and oversight.

The Design Principles are aspirational, and demand a standard for virtual care accountability, function, and performance that is currently not achieved by general in-person health service. The consensus was that the current state health system shortfalls should not limit aspirational principles needed to promote excellence in virtual care.

Learn more about Collective Impact

The virtual care Design Principles were organized into six sections that focus on:


There is a common vision for Alberta virtual health care  

a.    The vision for virtual care is founded upon the ultimate responsibility to provide quality care; meaning safe, timely,

effective, efficient, equitable, and person-centric virtual care.

b.    A collaborative Coordinating Body of representative stakeholders should advise on virtual care system design and high-level direction.

c.    Virtual care design principles should align with and inform the overarching provincial eHealth strategy.

d.    Healthcare standards, policy and legislation, and the virtual care vision should be transparent, in alignment and mutually supportive.

e.    Virtual care design principles should be supported by a nimble strategic approach that is responsive to the complex, dynamic health, and technology industries.

Virtual care service will be safe

a.    The competency of providers to deliver safe virtual patient care should be assured through training, licensure, and regulation.

b.    The capacity of virtual care technology to deliver safe patient care should be assured through standards and monitoring.

c.    Health information for virtual patient care should be comprehensive and accessible to providers as permitted by privacy legislation and standards.

d.    Personal health information used in virtual care should be private and secure.

Virtual care will be patient and family-oriented

a.    Patients and families should be recognized and included core members of virtual healthcare teams.

b.    Patients should have meaningful representation at all oversight levels of provincial virtual care.

c.    Health information flow and retention should be designed to follow the patient through their entire health journey.

d.    Patients, as information owners, should have access to their complete and composite health information.

e.    Patients and their family should have training and knowledge resources to promote virtual care literacy.

f.    Equitable access to virtual care services and resources should be a long-term goal.

g.    Virtual care must function to uphold principles of Indigenous data sovereignty. 

Virtual health care will be integrated at all levels of health service provision

a.    Virtual healthcare service should enhance continuity by integrating with, complimenting, and optimizing in-person health services, not replacing them.

b.    Virtual care should support bidirectional communication between any two or more members of a patient's circle of care.

c.    Virtual care user support and training should be standardized and integrated across services.

d.    Virtual care technology should be interoperable and functionally integrated.

e.    Virtual care technology and information workflow should support and promote team-based care.

f.    All members of a circle of care should be trained to provide collaborative virtual care over distance and time.

g.    Interjurisdictional virtual care for Albertans should be accountable to these Design Principles.

Virtual care will support ongoing monitoring and evaluation

a.    Data and experience gathered through the provision and management of virtual care should be used for the purposes of continuous quality improvement.

b.    The evaluation and oversight of virtual care services should be transparent to appropriate stakeholders, including patients, and subject to regular reporting requirements.

Virtual care technology will foster quality health service

a.    Virtual care system Design Principles should drive technology requirements.

b.    Virtual care Design Principles should be vendor agnostic.

c.    Virtual care technology should be designed to decrease workflow complexity and promote ease of use for providers and patients.

d.    Virtual care technology procurement should be transparent and follow set standards that uphold quality care, fairness, and promote innovation.

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