Alberta: A Health System Profile

By John Church and Neale Smith

© 2021

Alberta: A Health System Profile provides the first detailed description of Alberta’s health care system and the underpinning political and social forces that have shaped it. Due to the significant wealth resulting from government revenues generated through the energy sector, Alberta has been able to develop an extensive public health and health care infrastructure.

Alberta has used its financial resources to attract health professionals by offering the highest levels of financial compensation in Canada. However, although it spends more per capita than other Canadian jurisdictions, Alberta’s health care system costs and health outcomes performance are mediocre compared to many other Canadian jurisdictions. This unexpected outcome is the result of the unique interplay of economic and political forces within Alberta’s political economy.

Through an examination of Alberta’s political and economic history, and using research on the structures and services provided, Alberta: A Health Systems Profile provides a detailed description of the programs and services comprising Alberta’s health care system.

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Product Details

  • Series: Provincial and Territorial Health System Profiles
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Illustrations: 57
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
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Quick Overview

Alberta: A Health System Profile provides the first comprehensive and detailed overview of the economic, political, population health, program and service delivery aspects of health care in Alberta and the resulting health outcomes.

Alberta: A Health System Profile

By John Church and Neale Smith

© 2021

Alberta: A Health System Profile provides the first detailed description of Alberta’s health care system and the underpinning political and social forces that have shaped it. Due to the significant wealth resulting from government revenues generated through the energy sector, Alberta has been able to develop an extensive public health and health care infrastructure.

Alberta has used its financial resources to attract health professionals by offering the highest levels of financial compensation in Canada. However, although it spends more per capita than other Canadian jurisdictions, Alberta’s health care system costs and health outcomes performance are mediocre compared to many other Canadian jurisdictions. This unexpected outcome is the result of the unique interplay of economic and political forces within Alberta’s political economy.

Through an examination of Alberta’s political and economic history, and using research on the structures and services provided, Alberta: A Health Systems Profile provides a detailed description of the programs and services comprising Alberta’s health care system.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: Provincial and Territorial Health System Profiles
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 304 pages
  • Illustrations: 57
  • Dimensions: 6.0in x 1.0in x 9.0in
  • Author Information

    John Church is an associate professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Alberta.


    Neale Smith is a research coordinator at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology & Evaluation at the University of British Columbia.
  • Table of contents

    List of Figures, Tables, and Boxes
    Series Editor’s Foreword
    Preface and Acknowledgements
    List of Acronyms

    Chapter 1: Introduction and Overview
    1.1 Geography and Demography
    1.2 Political Context
    1.3 Alberta’s Economy
    1.4 Health Status
    1.5 Conclusion

    Chapter 2: Organization and Regulation
    2.1 Overview of the health system
     2.1.1 Early History
     2.1.2 Health System Restructuring 1993-2007
    2.2 Organization of the Provincial Health System
     2.2.1 Alberta Health
     2.2.2 Alberta Health Services
     2.2.3 Contractors
    2.3 Health System Planning
    2.4 Coverage and Benefits
     2.4.1 Eligibility for Benefits
    2.5 Regulation
     2.5.1 Providers
     2.5.2 Hospitals
     2.5.3 Continuing Care
     2.5.4 Public Health
     2.5.5 Diagnostic Imaging
     2.5.6 Prescription Drugs
     2.5.7 Patient Health Information
    2.6 Patients
    2.7 Health Research
    2.8 Summary

    Chapter 3: Health Expenditures and Financing
    3.1 Health System Financing Flows
    3.2 Health Expenditures and Trends
     3.2.1 Payment Methods
     3.2.2 Private and Out-of-Pocket Spending
    3.3 Public Revenues
     3.3.1 Provincial Own-Source Revenues
     3.3.2 Federal Transfers
    3.4 Summary

    Chapter 4: Physical Infrastructure
    4.1 Hospitals and other treatment Facilities
     4.1.1 Size and Geography
     4.1.2 Ownership
     4.1.3 Specialization
     4.1.4 Structural condition
    4.2 Long Term (Continuing Care) facilities
     4.2.1 Size and Geography
     4.2.2 Ownership
     4.2.3 Specialization
     4.2.4 Age and Design
    4.3 Diagnostic Imaging and Laboratory (DIAL) services
     4.3.1 Laboratory Services
     4.3.2 Diagnostic Imaging
    4.4 Public Health Facilities and Community Health Centres
    4.5 Information and Communications Technology Infrastructure
     4.5.1 Electronic Health Records (EHRs) and Electronic Medical Records (EMRs)
     4.5.2 Telehealth
    4.6 Health Research Infrastructure
    4.7 Summary

    Chapter 5: Health Workforce
    5.1 Main Workforce Challenges
    5.2 Physicians
    5.3 Regulated Nurses
    5.4 Other Health Care Providers
     5.4.1 Complimentary Health Care Providers
     5.4.2 Pharmaceutical Workforce
     5.4.3 Emergency Medical Workforce
     5.4.4 Diagnostic Workforce
     5.4.5 Rehabilitation Workforce
     5.4.6 Dental Workforce
     5.4.7 Eye Care Workforce
     5.4.8 Public Health Workforce 
    5.5 Health Human Resource Planning and Collective Bargaining
     5.5.1 HHR Planning
     5.5.2 Collective Bargaining
    5.6 Conclusion

    Chapter 6: Services and Programs Provided in Alberta’s Health System
    6.1 Public Health Services
     6.1.1 Public Health Nursing and Communicable Disease Control
     6.1.2 Environment Health Services
     6.1.3 Health Promotion
    6.2 Primary Care
    6.3 Acute (secondary, tertiary) care including emergency services
    6.3.1 Emergency Services
    6.4 Diagnostic Imaging and Laboratory Services
    6.5 Long-term and Continuing Care services
     6.5.1 Long-term care (LTC)
     6.5.2 Home and Community Care
    6.6 Prescription drugs
    6.7 Occupation Health Services and Rehabilitation Care
     6.7.1 Occupational Health and Safety
     6.7.2 Rehabilitation Care
    6.8 Mental Health Care and Addictions Services
    6.9 Dental Health Care Services
    6.10 Complementary and Alternative Medicines and Care
    6.11 Targeted Services for Indigenous and/or Minority Groups
    6.12 Palliative (end-of-life) care
     6.12.1 Palliative Care
     6.12.2 Medical Assistance in Dying
    6.13 Summary

    Chapter 7: Recent Health Reforms
    7.1 Alberta Health Services
    7.2 Strategic Clinical Networks
    7.3 Primary Care
    7.4 Wait Times
    7.5 Patient Safety
    7.6 Patient Advocacy
    7.7 Health Research
    7.8 Conclusion

    Chapter 8: Assessing Alberta’s Health Care System
    8.1 Stated Objectives of the Health System
    8.2 Financial Protection and Equity
    8.3 Health System and Service Outcomes
     8.3.1 Access to Care
     8.3.2 Wait Times
     8.3.3 Patient Safety
    8.4 User Experience and Satisfaction
     8.4.1 Access
     8.4.2 Satisfaction
     8.4.3 Continuity of Care
    8.5 Efficiency (technical and allocative)
     8.5.1 Financial Costs
     8.5.2 Utilization
     8.5.3 Public Health
     8.5.4 Integration
     8.5.5 Resource Allocation
     8.5.6 Mortality
    8.6 Accountability
    8.7 Information, Performance Measurement and Quality Assurance
    8.8 Conclusion

    Chapter 9: Conclusion
    9.1 The Economy and People
    9.2 Health Care Costs
    9.3 Health System Governance
    9.4 Health Workforce
    9.5 Professionalism
    9.6 Infrastructure and Services
    9.7 Performance Measurement
    9.8 Performance Outcomes
    9.9 Final Thoughts

    Afterwards
    References
    Index

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