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EMR Certification Program FAQ


  1. What is the History of the EMR Certification Program?
  2. What is an Electronic Medical Record (EMR)?
  3. What is an OntarioMD-certified EMR?
  4. Why certify my EMR Offering?
  5. What is the difference between a hosted EMR and a local EMR?
  6. How can I make an informed decision in selecting an EMR Offering?
  7. Is funding still available for physicians?

EMR Specifications

  1. What are the Ontario EMR Specifications?

EMR Validation

  1. How can I prepare my practice for an EMR?
  2. How does an EMR vendor's EMR Offering become certified?


What is the History of the EMR Certification Program?

OntarioMD's EMR Certification Program was established in 2001 to promote the adoption of EMRs by community-based physicians. Funding was provided to physicians for adopting EMRs certified by OntarioMD as "Funding Eligible". 

"Funding Eligible" EMRs drove expectations for:

  • Technical and clinical requirements for primary care EMRs as described by specifications
  • EMR vendor agreements between OntarioMD and the EMR vendor
  • Funding agreements between OntarioMD and physicians
  • Client agreements between the EMR vendor and the physician (practice)

What is an EMR?

An EMR is a secure Electronic Medical Record which includes software and its associated database. It is the record that physicians use to capture patient information such as a patient's family history, lab requests and results, cancer screening tests, emergency room visits, prescriptions, and more.

What is an OntarioMD-certified Electronic Medical Record (EMR)?

An OntarioMD-certified EMR is an EMR that meets the current Ontario EMR Specifications and complies with additional requirements such as those relating to privacy and security practices, service levels and other obligations contained in an agreement with OntarioMD.

All certified EMR offerings must continue to comply with the Ontario EMR Specifications as they are updated from time to time to maintain their certified status.

Only OntarioMD-certified EMR offerings may be connected to provincial electronic health record (EHR) solutions and services such as the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS), Health Report Manager (HRM) and future provincial EHR solutions and services as they become available.

Why certify my EMR Offering?

EMR offerings must be certified by OntarioMD in order to access provincial EHR Solutions and Services like HRM, OLIS and future provincial services such as eConsult, Immunizations, Drugs, etc

OntarioMD has a trusted, long-standing relationship with physicians and has established leading practices and a representative voice to EMR vendors.

OntarioMD's EMR Certification Program:

  • Ensures consistent and repeatable access to provincial EHR Solutions and Services, clinical tools and the exchange of health information (through Specifications and certification) across EMR offerings
  • Provides direction, prioritization and/or oversight of provincial EMR integration initiatives (EMR Roadmap)
  • Provides opportunities for collaborating on emerging EHR integration solutions (e.g., Proof of Concepts)
  • Provides national market visibility for EMR vendors with certified EMRs
  • Coordinates practice-level change management services with deployments coordinated through OntarioMD (e.g., issues resolution, change management and support)
  • Physicians should expect that their chosen Certified EMR (and its EMR vendor) uphold requirements and obligations for certification which support enhanced clinical tools, data quality and the exchange of health information with EMRs

What is the difference between a hosted EMR and a local EMR?

A hosted EMR is a multi-tenanted application service provider or software-as-a-service or cloud-based delivery model application accessed by physicians and their staff over communications lines while the local EMR is situated in one of the locations for the group of participating physicians. In both cases, EMRs can be accessed from the practice or another location, such as at home. Please see Local EMR Configurations  for additional information.

The hosted EMR provides systems management functions including disaster recovery, data security, business continuity, capacity planning and server infrastructure, and facilities interacting with digital health applications.

With the local EMR, the physician or group is responsible for implementing and maintaining system management functions.

How can I make an informed decision in selecting an EMR Offering?

  1. Define your practice's objectives; why do you want to adopt an EMR?
  2. Build and educate a selection team. Your team should include a range of employees from different departments.
  3. Gather your functional, technical, financial, and vendor requirements. What do you expect from your EMR?
  4. Evaluate the vendor.How are vendors responding to your requirements and how do they perform when challenged with clinical scenarios?
  5. Perform site visits and ask your colleagues for references. What are your colleagues' experiences with preferred vendors?
  6. Negotiate a contract. Can you come to an agreement with your preferred vendor? You may wish to have the contract reviewed by the OMA.

OntarioMD's staff and Peer Leaders are always available to help and answer any questions.

For more information, watch OntarioMD's video, "Selecting Your EMR Vendor"

Is funding still available for physicians?

Physician enrollment into the OntarioMD physician funding program which supported the adoption of EMRs closed in March 2015. 


EMR Specifications

What are the OntarioMD Specifications?

Ontario's EMR Specifications are the clinical, business and technical requirements that EMR offerings must meet to be certified by OntarioMD.  Certified EMRs enable physicians to participate in Ontario's EMR funding programs (if available) and position physicians to access the patient information contained in regional and provincial digital health assets such as the Ontario Laboratories Information System (OLIS) and Health Report Manager (HRM) and future digital health assets as they become available. By certifying an EMR offering, OntarioMD does not warranty the functionality of the EMR or the ability of the EMR vendor to support the EMR product and services. Only the EMR vendor can warranty the functionality of its product and provide the necessary services to support it. However, OntarioMD has processes it can invoke to remedy issues that may arise with conformance to the Ontario EMR Specifications.


EMR Validation

How can I prepare my practice for an EMR?

Prepare your practice for an EMR by contacting one of OntarioMD's Practice Advisors at 1-866-744-8668 or They will work with you to help establish your goals, understand your technology needs, go through the selection process, and help you get the most out of your EMR after you've implemented it.

For more information, watch OntarioMD's video, Prepare Your Practice For EMR

How does an EMR vendor's EMR Offering become certified?

The validation process for EMR vendors to have their EMR Offerings certified against the Ontario EMR Specifications is available by visiting the EMR Validation Overview section EMR Validation Process.