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Calgary Health Region


Ability to provide integrated email and calendar features that fostered productive work among colleagues across all Region sites

Industry: Healthcare

Products: OWA Suite

Canadian Healthcare Provider Uses Messageware Enhancements to Eliminate Desktop Email


The Calgary Health Region (CHR) is one of 12 formerly separate healthcare entities in the Province of Alberta which, as of May 15, 2008, have been synthesized into a single, collaborative organization titled Alberta Health Services (AHS). Still delivering healthcare services and supports to a geographical area which over 1.2 million people call home, Alberta Health Services’ Calgary Health Region remains one of the largest healthcare service areas in Canada. Calgary Region specific IT resources support over 29,000 AHS-CHR employees and 2,300 physicians spread across 100 diverse facilities (including 12 hospitals, 41 care centres and a number of community/continuing care sites).

The Calgary Health Region had previously offered their employees separate solutions for email and calendaring, each in both desktop client and web-based versions. When one of these solutions was discontinued by the vendor, the Region saw an opportunity to revisit the messaging strategy, and sought solutions that would best serve their diverse workforce (both in the short and long terms).

Requirements central to a successful solution included:

  • Ability to ensure consistency and availability regardless of access location or time
  • Ability to provide integrated email and calendar features that fostered productive work among colleagues across all Region sites
  • Movement from desktop to browser based email that enabled capitalization on the associated benefits (including cost reductions)


The Region’s choice messaging platform was Microsoft Exchange Server. “We chose Microsoft Exchange and Outlook Web Access (OWA) because it helps us better integrate with the millions of users around the world that are also using Exchange”, said Maria Eisenberg, Chief
Information Officer. “Using OWA also fits perfectly with our strategic vision of reduced software on the desktop, and thus, simplified management of upgrades and administration.”

Before deploying Outlook Web Access, the Region required the addition of essential functionality to satisfy the requirements of management and staff. Messageware, the world’s leading provider of enterprise productivity and security solutions for Microsoft Office Outlook Web Access, provided this functionality. “We knew we didn’t want to use a full desktop client. Messageware’s years of experience developing OWA-specific solutions and their large customer base gave us the confidence to use their products and development expertise to add the functionality and security we needed to deploy OWA,” said Eisenberg.

The Messageware OWA Suite is comprised of user enhancement and security products that add essential functionality and security to OWA calendars and email. With Messageware-enhanced Outlook Web Access, the Region’s OWA users can view shared calendars side-by-side, allowing executive, administrative and healthcare support staff to schedule meetings, book appointments or reserve resources at-a-glance from any location. Multiple calendars can be viewed in day, week or month format, and color-coding ensures multiple calendars are easily

Recognizing early on solutions for employees to assign and manage delegates in OWA did not exist, the Region turned to Messageware to custom-build this functionality into the Messageware CalendarShare product. This functionality was delivered under aggressive timelines and on budget. As a result, employees now have complete control over who can see or modify their calendars. Messageware-enhanced OWA calendaring adds additional features that allow the setting of delegate permissions in OWA, the sending of summary messages informing delegates of their permissions, and the ability to assign appropriate permissions for public and private appointments.

The Messageware OWA Suite secures OWA attachments, extending and improving upon the Microsoft Exchange WebReady Document Viewing feature. Attachments are viewed as secure web pages, which prevents confidential information from being left on the computer being used to view them. The Suite also gives users the ability to view Track Changes in Microsoft Word attachments, so draft documents cannot be forwarded unknowingly — an especially important feature when emailing confidential documents.

Before migrating to the Microsoft Exchange/Messageware solution, the Region’s support desk regularly received calls from employees encountering problems viewing certain types of attachments that were incompatible with their webmail solution. With the Messageware OWA Suite installed, users can now securely view virtually any document type whether or not the native application is installed on the local computer.

– Maria Eisenberg, CIO, Calgary Health Region

Messageware was clearly strong on OWA-specific solutions, which gave us the confidence to use their products to add the functionality we needed to deploy OWA.


The benefits of the Region’s new messaging platform are already being realized by employees (IT and otherwise) at Calgary Health Region. “From an end user point of view, using OWA for email and calendaring is easier than the legacy system we had been using. There is less frustration than before because employees are using a consistent interface whether they are checking email at home or at work,” said Eisenberg. Messageware enhancements have seen messaging tasks that had previously taken minutes to accomplish, now take only seconds.

The Microsoft/Messageware deployment involves a rollout to more than 30,000 users across the Region’s geographic service area. Everyone from executive and administrative staff to physicians and support workers will rely on Messageware-enhanced Outlook Web Access to deliver care to over 1.2 million people. “We anticipate cost savings from the reduced number of support calls from employees as well as reduced administration costs of managing desktop upgrades and expanded infrastructure,” said Eisenberg.

The Region’s messaging strategy anticipates growth, and ensures it will be appropriately managed as the organization expands. The OWA infrastructure will expand with it. “As we grow, the need for solutions that are scalable and flexible to alternate working models becomes even more critical,” Eisenberg added. “Microsoft Exchange Server with Messageware’s OWA Suite gives us the ability to support an employee base that is increasingly working from remote locations across a large geographic area.”

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