Ontario EHR Interoperability Standards
Standards are the building blocks of electronic health records (EHRs). They allow one physician to define and send the results of an X-ray or CT scan to another, without having to worry about what technology they use.
In this case, we say the patient record is interoperable, meaning that health information will rapidly move between, and be instantly understood by, different electronic record-keeping systems.
This means that any time an Ontarian comes into contact with the health care system, their care provider will have immediate electronic access to all secure, pertinent and accurate patient information. That’s the power, and criticality, of standards.
How We Work
Standards can’t be developed behind closed doors. We work closely with health care providers, hospitals, community-based providers, the provincial government and vendors to develop and maintain the best solutions for Ontarians. This ensures that our solutions are designed to work in the real world.
Our standards program follows an internationally acknowledged development process. Here’s how it works:
The First Step: Need Identification and Business Definition
A request for a new specification/standard, or a request to change an existing specification/standard, is initiated. Requests are assessed and prioritized against the eHealth Ontario's priorities.
Doing our Homework: Options Research and Analysis
Once a standard is requested, the work begins. The process for researching and developing a standard varies depending on the complexity, scope, strategic significance and likely impact of the request. As a starting point, however, we look to see if other standards exist that can be re-used, either in whole or in part.
There is a continual feedback loop between the consultation phase and the research and development phase. In many cases, they happen simultaneously. Adoption, adaptation, and development require communication and engagement with stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement is a core strength of our standards program.
Testing and Pilot
Pre-production models or versions are tested to ensure we locate or estimate any design flaws or deficiencies.
Training and Education
Education and training is another fundamental undertaking of our standards program. We develop and distribute materials to help all interested parties get the information and achieve the understanding they need to succeed.
Standards implementation support is provided in the form of tools, guidelines and advice.
In this stage we check to ensure that standards have been properly implemented and that lessons learned are captured to be fed back into subsequent revisions or enhancements of solutions.
Maintenance and Support
Finally, standards require constant care and attention. Our standards program regularly reviews and updates our published specifications/standards to ensure they are accurate, contemporary and accessible.
Current EHR Standards
Ambulatory Cancer Electronic Medical Record Extraction Standard
Learn more about Cancer Care Ontario's (CCO) standard for transmitting patient-level data within the cancer system.
Clinical Document Specification
Learn more about the clinical document specification, developed to facilitate the exchange of clinical documents.
ConnectingOntario CDR Input Standard
The ConnectingOntario clinical data repository (CDR) supports patients by providing care teams with a central point of access to an up-to-date, integrated care record.
Learn more about the Ontario consent directives specification that enables the creation and management of informational consent directives.
Diagnostic Imaging Common Service Standard (DI CS)
Learn more about the standard used by system implementers to support the sharing of diagnostic imaging reports and images.
Discharge Summary Standard
Learn more about the Discharge Summary Specification, designed to streamline numerous discharge summary information initiatives.
Learn more about the standard for the electronic transfer of referrals between health care providers.
Health Care Audit Event Standard
Learn more about the Ontario health care audit event specification that targets the automated collection of audit events associated with personal health information.
Ontario Laboratories Information System Standard
Learn more about the standard that ensures IT systems that retrieve OLIS lab data can exchange and understand all content through standardized messages and terminologies.
Provincial Client Registry Standards
Learn more about Ontario's provincial client registry standard that helps uniquely identify individuals based on demographic information.
Provincial Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) Header Standard
Learn more about the Provincial CDA Header standard for exchanging clinical documents.
Provincial Provider Registry Specification
Learn more about the provincial provider registry specification that helps uniquely identify regulated health care professionals and organizations.
Pending Review Specifications
The specifications posted here have not yet been approved by our EHR governance committees. These draft specifications are, however, available for use and will be reviewed / approved at a future date.
eReferral Provincial Reference Model
Learn more about this draft document that is a resource for provincial eReferral solution planning and development activities.
HIAL Transport & Message Specification
Learn more about this draft resource document which provides the technical details and technology constraints in order to successfully exchange messages with our health information access layer (HIAL) services – the backbone of Ontario’s EHR.