"The right patients receiving the right treatments at the right times."

APPROACH (Alberta Provincial Project for Outcome Assessment in Coronary Heart disease) is a practical, effective and patient-focused initiative with the stated mission to collect and process information to improve cardiac care.

An important part of this initiative has been a data-rich database that currently includes clinical information on 122,000 Albertans with diagnostic cardiac catheterization and/or revascularization procedures and, more recently, 32,000 patients with hospital admissions for acute coronary syndromes. This data continues to reveal important insights into short and long term quality indicators and management strategy effectiveness in Alberta and confirms to us that together we can do an even better job of caring for patients.

The APPROACH team assisted in developing the capability for emergency medical service (EMS) paramedics to transmit ECGs electronically to a central ECG database. Cardiologists, emergency department doctors, and nurses in any participating location can review the ECG immediately, often making treatment decisions and preparations before the patient has even arrived at the hospital. With this capability, the time required to transfer patients and prepare for emergency cardiac care can be significantly decreased, significantly improving patient outcomes.

Achieving the APPROACH mandate requires wide patient recruitment, promotion of clarity in clinical communication and extending observations over time to factor in both the acute events and the chronic realities of coronary artery disease. The Quality Indicators used in this work reflect a broad definition of treatment success that includes major clinical events as well as the results of a series of validated health status measurement tools. And, importantly, success in this area requires the ongoing skill and commitment of key outcome and information technology specialists and an acceptance of this work in a collaborative spirit within each partner healthcare facility.

The APPROACH team is up to these challenges with 15 years of research and clinical communication success in Alberta and strong international partnerships in methodological research to ensure that the very latest strategies for care quality promotion and surveillance are made available to Albertans.

Important ongoing developmental priorities include: development of a dynamic risk model to inform urban and rural physicians and patients, expansion from a procedure-based orientation to a disease-based outcome focus and collaboration with the electronic medical record initiative to develop communication tools and promote better decision making through innovative use of health information.

Coronary artery disease, the leading cause of death and disability in Canada, continues to be our prime focus.

Research & Reports

The APPROACH registry provides opportunities to examine the fairness and effectiveness of Alberta’s provision of cardiac health care. Research done by the APPROACH team is recognized by many health care institutions and universities and has appeared in high-impact, international and national journals.

The APPROACH team has developed regular reports which allow hospital administrators, health officials, and healthcare administrators in their decision making. Click here to open an example report in a new window.

Patient-identifiable information is not provided to researchers who use APPROACH data. Therefore, individual patients cannot be identified in reports or research. See the Privacy Statement for more information.

Our 2018 article in the International Journal of Population Data Science provides an overview of the APPROACH registry and its work to date (

The following brochure gives general information about APPROACH:
Click here for PDF