Frequently Asked Questions

The following are some questions that Albertans often ask about Alberta Netcare. 

If your question isn't on the list, feel free to contact us.

What is Alberta Netcare?

Alberta Netcare, known as the provincial Electronic Health Record (EHR), is a secure and confidential electronic system. It is accessible to health professionals and contains Albertans’ personal health information.

What is Personal Health Record (PHR)?

A PHR is an electronic, lifelong resource of health information needed by individuals to make health decisions. Individuals own and manage the information in the PHR, which comes from healthcare providers and the individual. The PHR is maintained in a secure and private environment, with the individual determining rights of access. The PHR does not replace the legal record of any provider.

What is Electronic Health Record (EHR)?

An EHR is a secure and confidential electronic system that collects and stores health information. It is made up of many connected components, which together deliver healthcare providers key patient information at the point of care. Alberta Netcare is Alberta’s provincial EHR.

What is Electronic Medical Record (EMR)?

An EMR is a computer-based patient record specific to a single clinical practice, such as a family health team or group practice. In clinical settings where there are a number of doctors, nurses, dietitians, pharmacists, and other healthcare professionals, EMRs can improve communication between them and support productivity. EMRs can also improve communication between healthcare providers and patients, positively impacting health outcomes and patient safety. (Canada Health Infoway)

Does everyone in Alberta have an EHR?

Everyone who receives health care in Alberta has a record in Alberta Netcare. At a minimum, this consists of the individual’s personal health number, and could include other information. Read more about what’s in an EHR.

Can I access my own record?

Alberta Netcare is designed for authorized health professionals to share key patient information and improve the quality of patient care. There is no method for direct access by patients at this time. However, a project is currently underway to develop a personal health portal function within My This function will allow Albertans to view information from the provincial EHR.

How can I get a copy of my record? or find out what’s in my record?

There are informal and formal ways to view or obtain a copy of your record.

Can I find out who has accessed my record?

Albertans have the right to request an audit log to find out who has accessed their Alberta Netcare EHR.

How is the system protected? What kind of Security is in place?

The security controls used to protect EHR information are based on international standards and best practices.

  • All electronic messages that are shared are encrypted, which means that the information is encoded to provide a high level of security.
  • High-quality network security controls include the use of firewalls and an intrusion detection system to alert the appropriate personnel of any unusual activity.
  • Access to the EHR is logged and audited so that Alberta Health privacy office can follow-up if a breach is suspected.
  • Access to the EHR is provided through secure networks (such as those in Alberta Health Services Facilities) or securely over the Internet using two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication involves a password and ID to be used in conjunction with a portable hardware device. Both must be present to gain access.

Is it possible to opt out of the EHR?

Although it is not possible to “opt-out” of the EHR, Albertans have the option of requesting that their health information in Alberta Netcare be “masked.” This means that information about an individual will not be automatically visible when a record is accessed (except for first and last name, date of birth, gender and personal health number).

Will my doctor have access to my electronic records from other provinces?

Each province’s EHR is only accessible to health care providers that are practicing in that province. Although, anyone treated in Alberta, no matter where they live, would have a record in our system.

There is an organization called Canada Health Infoway that is working to create a Pan-Canadian EHR network that will allow access to health records from anywhere within Canada. But until technological and legislative barriers are overcome, there will continue to be no connections between the separate provincial EHR systems.

Can my record be accessed or requested by my insurance company?

Alberta Netcare is a clinical tool. Only those authorized under the Health Information Act can access the EHR, and may only access your record if you are their patient. Even health professionals (like doctors) don’t always have access. For example, if a health professional was working outside of the Alberta health system (like consulting for an insurance company) they would not be given access. These rules protect your privacy by prohibiting insurance companies, employers or anyone working for them, to access information in the EHR. Find out how your information is protected.

Will the EHR data be used for research?

The Health Information Act (HIA) restricts the use of EHR data to only what is required for providing patient care. However, recent amendments to the HIA allow for the formation of an organization that would allow the use of health information for external research. Alberta Health and Wellness is also investigating the possibility of connecting data repositories with the ministry Business Intelligence systems so that the data can be used in evaluating health system performance.

Are you a researcher?