Healthcare 101

The purpose of our work is to help Albertans to understand our health system and to engage effectively in health-related activities such as discussions related to our own health and health system improvement activities. Free and online information will inform citizens about four themes Albertans have identified as important, on which they are helping to create content:

  1. Understanding my healthcare ecosystem: Putting a very complex group of organizations into context so that I can see my place within our system
  2. Understanding my healthcare navigation: Helping me find what I need
  3. Understanding my healthcare journey and being my own advocate: Advocating for my own healthcare and experience
  4. Understanding my healthcare rights and responsibilities: Knowing that I do have rights and learning what areas of my health I am responsible for


Why do WE think this is important?

Healthcare 101 (HC 101) is meant to help us all experience our healthcare in a more positive way. The objective of the project is to co-design and co-create content about how the healthcare system works that is relevant and meaningful to Alberta citizens. Members of IMAGINE and the Strategic Clinical Networks™ have been the lead partners in this project. Between us, we have significant expertise in co-creation and mobilizing key stakeholders to ensure the work ahead is successful.

The work has three phases:

1. Forming the Task Force – IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health started discussions with the Strategic Clinical Networks™ in late 2015. By November 2016, a Task Force was in place with finalized terms of reference. Half of the task force members are citizens, volunteer patient and family advisors, or patient and community engagement researchers. The task force is also composed of members from the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (Patient Engagement Platform); the Health Quality Council of Alberta; Alberta Health Advocates; the Ward of the 21st Century; MyHealth Alberta; and Alberta Health Services.

2. Creating a framework for the content that outlines the necessary elements recommended by the task force and the steps required. The identified content themes are:
a. Understanding my health-care ecosystem
b. Understanding my health-care navigation
c. Understanding my health-care journey
d. Understanding my rights and responsibilities

3. Defining the content with citizens, and then writing and piloting the content
a. Citizen Focus Groups were conducted for input on content and methods of delivery. Two focus groups were held. The first was across the province on Jan. 30, 2017, by Telehealth (online), with a total of 41 participants. The second was an in-person meeting on Feb. 2, 2017, with a group of 12 clients at The Alex’s youth and family clinics in Calgary. Four themes came out of this work.

b. Content Support Team members, who are citizen experts, are working with the recommended themes. With support from a writer and designer, they created the content. MyHealth Alberta content and user-experience staff were assigned to work with HC101. We are ready to test the first theme with the public before we move on with further content development.

c. Create, pilot and refine. We finalized Module 1 content with citizens’ input in October 2017. We looked to Citizen Focus Group and Content Support Team members to be part of the testing of the content developed. We also asked the Patient Engagement Reference Group members of the Strategic Clinical Networks™, and members of Alberta’s Patient and Family Advisory Group to review. Health-care researchers interested in collective impact of patient engagement work through the Strategy for Patient Oriented Research, and members of PovertyTalks! were also consulted. We asked for guidance from the Albertans, patient- and family-advisers, and/or patient-engagement researchers who had voiced the need or shaped early directions for HC101.

d. Applying design. The goal is to apply design thinking to ensure the content can be found on, is compatible with mobile devices, and is as accessible to as many Albertans as possible.

In Progress
e. Social marketing, advertising and social media plans. From September 2017 to April 2018, HC101 partnered with students of Sameer Desphande in the Dhillon School of Business at the University of Lethbridge to develop these plans. We are working with our co-design team to finalize and implement promotion plans to build awareness of Healthcare Basics for Albertans.

In Progress
f. Cultural accessibility. Healthcare 101 is in discussions with organizations with expertise in cultural broker services to ensure the Module 1 content is meaningful to immigrant, refugee and ethno-cultural community members in Alberta.

In Progress
4. The second module. Phase 2 of Healthcare 101 will tackle the theme of Finding My Way. Terms of Reference will be updated, and we will build on what we have learned in developing Module 1.

Being Planned
5. With experienced gained and with your help, we will develop themes 3 and 4.

Building Momentum

This is a large project with many individuals and groups providing support or offering to collaborate. A key relationship that has recently commenced is with MyHealth Alberta.

  • IMAGINE and our Healthcare 101 group is in conversations with staff at MyHealth Alberta in order to plan for locating and sustaining our content there. Sign up with IMAGINE and we’ll keep you updated!

An overall engagement strategy to detail our connections so far is in draft form. Examples of our additional connections include:

Why citizens say this is important:

“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.“

“I think that if more people understood how AHS works with the province, we would have an understanding of the immense pressures we are facing and allow the public to give their views.”

“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.”


Need more info or want to get involved?

Co-chairs of Healthcare 101 in Alberta Task Force:

On Twitter? Tag your thoughts for content for Healthcare 101 in Alberta using #HC101

A special thank you to the many IMAGINE members, among others, contributing their time:

  • Kelly Mendes, Judy Birdsell and Leslie Ayre-Jaschke – on HC101 Task Force
  • Teri Price and Marnie Schaetti – Communications
  • Jo-Louise Huq – IMAGINE researcher
  • Ann Casebeer, Rita Egizii, Barbara Nyland, Judy Birdsell and Patricia Pelton – content support team members and contributors

Apologies for any/all omissions!