EMR Specification and Validation Overview

OntarioMD EMR Certification provides assurance to physicians and the digital health community that EMR vendors and their certified EMR products have met and continue to meet the minimum set of requirements and obligations to drive EMR Maturity for the province. 

EMRs must be certified in order to subscribe to Provincial EHR products and services, including OLIS, HRM and future EHR solutions and services as they become available.

Certified EMR offerings are recognized for maintaining obligations set forth in the EMR Vendor Certification Agreement and for aligning to the published Ontario EMR Specifications mandatory for a specific care domain (e.g.: Primary Care)

EMR Specifications

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. EHR Connectivity and Tooling:   e.g.: HRM, OLIS
  3. Functional:          e.g.: primary care baseline functionality, specialty specific requirements

New and/or updated EMR Specifications will be introduced over time which will continue to advance the maturity of EMRs. EMR vendors with 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 in order 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

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 CPSO 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.


EHR Connectivity and Tools

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.



Functional Specifications

Purpose and Benefits

Primary Care EMR Baseline Requirements

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.


More Information

For more information on Ontario EMR Specifications, please visit here

For more information on obtaining certification and the validation process, please visit here 

For information on reporting expectations of EMR vendors with certified EMR offerings please visit here