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EMR Specifications Overview

OntarioMD works with physicians, EMR vendors, provincial partners (e.g. Ministry of Health, Ontario Health, Government of New Brunswick, etc.) and other stakeholders, to develop and manage EMR Specifications. The EMR Specifications cover a range of clinical, business and technical requirements that certified EMR offerings support. An EMR Specification may contain one or more documents that contain all the necessary information an EMR vendor needs to know to implement the specification.

EMR Specifications define a minimum set of consistent, repeatable requirements and obligations that drive EMR maturity in three categories:


     1.     Foundation

e.g.: data, identity, privacy and security, hosting

     2.     Functional

e.g.: primary care baseline functionality, specialty specific requirements

     3.     EHR Connectivity and Tooling

e.g.: provincial lab and drug repositories, client registries, authentication, and authorization


New and/or updated EMR Specifications will be introduced over time which will continue to advance the maturity of EMRs.  EMR vendors with OMD certified EMR offerings will be notified of any pending/new/updated EMR Specifications and may be required to update their EMR offerings and be validated on the incremental requirements to maintain their EMR Certification status.

The following provides a brief overview and partial list of EMR Specifications in each of their respective categories:


Foundation EMR Specifications

Purpose and Benefits

EMR Core Data Set Standard

Defines ~270 logical data elements that all certified EMRs support.

Helps ensure certified EMRs have the data required to participate in the provincial EHR and enhance physicians’ use of EMRs.

EMR Hosting (for Hosted Offerings Only)

Defines requirements for the hosted EMR (e.g., application, infrastructure, privacy & security, etc.) and business services the EMR vendor must provide.

Addresses physician barriers to adoption of ‘cloud-based’ EMRs by ensuring certified hosted EMRs are secure, highly available, and meet performance targets.

EMR Data Migration

Defines how to physically migrate a portion of a patient’s record from one EMR offering to another.

Helps physicians adhere to the jurisdictions regulatory college in record keeping policies and decrease EMR data migration time and costs by specifying the data that needs to be migrated and the responsibilities of the stakeholders involved.



Functional Specifications

Purpose and Benefits

Primary Care Baseline

Defines functional requirements for EMRs and services provided by EMR vendors.

Ensures EMRs have functions valued by physicians (e.g., drug interaction checking, electronic claims submission, etc.) and that EMR vendors provide support services to help physicians use their EMR.

Chronic Disease Management

Defines functional and logical data requirements to support the management of five chronic diseases: Diabetes; Asthma, Heart Failure, COPD, and Hypertension.

Ensures EMRs have a minimum set of functions and data to help physicians track, analyze, and report on patient’s chronic diseases and provide better care.


EHR Connectivity & Tools Specifications

Purpose and Benefits


Defines functional requirements for the retrieval and display of lab results.

Ensures EMRs display lab result information in a manner that is easy for physicians to interpret and prevents potential patient safety risks (e.g., ensuring abnormal test results are flagged in the physician preview).


Defines functional requirements and the physical data structure of health reports received from HRM.

Ensures EMRs have the ability to receive health reports valued by physicians.


More Information

For more information on EMR Specifications, please visit the EMR Specifications Library

For more information about the development life cycle, please visit the EMR Specifications Development Life Cycle

For more information on obtaining EMR Certification and Mandatory EMR Specifications, please see the EMR Certification Overview