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Overview

OntarioMD's EMR Certification Program aligns with a key objective within the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care's Patients First: Digital Health Strategy to realize the full potential of EMRs to support clinical practice or to share key information needed to improve care coordination; this should include improved interoperability and connection to provincial assets, and increased maturity of EMR use.  

Two key objectives driving mature use of EMRs include: 

  • Improved clinical value of EMRs:  
    • Access to new/updated provincial EHR Solutions and Services (e.g.:  Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS), Health Report Manager (HRM) and future services such as eConsult, immunizations, medications)
    • Fit-for-purpose EMRs and use of clinical tools such as an EMR Dashboard 
    • Use of centrally-managed (hosted) EMRs 
    • Innovative solutions by EMR vendors and their partners 
  • Improved exchange of EMR Data:
    • Improved data quality
    • Access to, and exchange of, EMR data


Market Opportunity / EMR Landscape

It is important for new vendor entrants to consider that while there are some community-based physicians who have yet to adopt an EMR, EMRs have already been adopted by over 14,000 community-based physicians in Ontario.  Market share information is updated regularly by OntarioMD. As the EMR landscape continues to mature, practices/physicians may:  

  • Decide to choose an alternate EMR which more closely aligns to their practice needs, e.g., a 'fit-for-purpose' EMR targeted for their specialty, care group or care delivery model 
  • Decide to migrate away from their EMR installed locally within their practice towards a centrally managed (hosted) EMR solution 
  • Be required to choose an alternate EMR, e.g., driven by the market exit of an EMR vendor


EMR Certification Fundamentals

EMRs must be certified by OntarioMD as a requirement for access to provincial EHR solutions and services such OLIS and HRM. 

To attain and maintain certification, a vendor must: 

  • Be validated and maintain its alignment with applicable EMR Specifications 
  • Uphold obligations as set forth in an EMR Vendor Certification Agreement 

Various events may trigger (re-)validation, conformance assessments or other investigations. 

  • Monthly reporting, semi-annual reviews, incident reporting 
  • Concerns raised by physicians, vendors or other stakeholders 
  • Updated/new EMR Specifications 

For additional information on EMR Certification click here  


Recognition of Infoway Certification

Canada Health Infoway (Infoway) and OntarioMD established reciprocal recognition of their respective validation of EMR offerings’ adherence to privacy and security requirements.  The reciprocity established by the two organizations results in a significant reduction of effort for an EMR vendor certified by one organization and seeking certification from the other.   For more information on how EMR vendors benefit from this collaboration, please click here. 

EMR vendors with an offering certified by Infoway can review the stage 1 validation requirements for more information on how their efforts are reduced when applying for OntarioMD certification. 

Please visit Infoway's Certification Services for more information on how OntarioMD certified EMR offerings are validated by Infoway.


EMR Specifications

EMR Specifications define a minimum set of requirements which support the continual evolution of EMRs. 

  • Foundational services (e.g., Core Data Set, Hosting Privacy and Security, Data Migration) 
  • EHR connectivity and tools (e.g.: Health Report Manager (HRM), Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS)
  • Functional requirements (e.g., Primary Care) 

Clinical involvement is critical to the development of all EMR Specifications and include a consistent use of messaging and data standards. Historically, primary care certification was one comprehensive specification, but in 2014 was divided into modular specifications to streamline validation, and support certification for other care domains beyond primary care. 

For additional information on EMR Specifications click here


EMR Validation

Validation is a five-staged process which evaluates an EMR offerings' alignment to EMR Specifications.  

  1. Application for certification, including a set of artifacts that provides details of the EMR offering and its alignment to the applicable EMR Specifications 
  2. Assessment of the application and collaboration with the EMR vendor 
  3. Demonstrated alignment of the EMR offering to functional requirements  
  4. Demonstrated alignment of the EMR offering to EHR connectivity requirements 
  5. Demonstrated deployment of the EMR offering in a clinical setting

Additional information regarding the validation process click here