Table 4:

Characteristics of 16 clinical networks in Alberta, Canada*,21

Network purposeMembersLeadership structureResourcesProcesses
  • Networks exist across diverse clinical areas, from specialist to primary care and public health

  • The mission of the networks overall is “improving the health of Albertans by bringing together people, research and innovation”

  • Each strategic clinical network is guided by its strategic priorities

  • Each network’s core committee has 30–40 network members who meet 4–6 times per year. Committee members include frontline clinicians, operational partners within and outside acute care, patient and family advisers, researchers, policymakers and charitable foundations

  • Patient and family advisers are key members across the networks and are embedded in all activities and projects, including network leadership

  • Networks are led by a senior medical director, senior provincial director and a scientific director, reporting to executives from the single provincial health authority, Alberta Health Services

  • These individuals are jointly responsible for building and facilitatin partnerships across the health system, engaging stakeholders, integrating health services and overseeing network activities

  • The annual operating budget of each network is about $1.2 million

  • Core funding is provided by Alberta Health Services, but there are also competitive funding opportunities for projects (which support strategic priorities), and for scaling and spreading successful projects provincially

  • The stages of strategic clinical network work include measuring current health status and the performance of the health care (and social support) system, identifying gaps in care, and working with patients and policymakers to prioritize those that are most important

  • To address the key priorities, the networks review existing evidence and work with researchers and operational leaders to either spread successful interventions or codesign innovative solutions to overcome gaps, improve patient outcomes and reduce health care costs

  • If mandated careful evaluations show improved outcomes or cost savings, then programs are scaled and spread provincially as appropriate

  • * These networks were initiated in 2012.