Why should physicians go paperless?

Why should physicians go paperless?

By: Miron Elias

Today, we are seeing a rise in technology and further innovation that is slowly making an impact on healthcare globally.  Whether traditional medicine is better than modern medicine brings up important questions: “Why should physicians go paperless?” and “What are the advantages to using technology in a clinical setting?”

Physicians are very busy throughout the day and rarely have spare time.  The integration of technology in clinics and hospitals can increase the efficiency in a physician’s day-to-day life.  Infomedic has taken a course of action towards the integration of technology into healthcare, through our OSCAR EMR service, providing mobility and scalability for physicians.

The following are a list of a few reasons why it is important for physicians to go paperless:

Reliability.  Physicians see more than a handful of patients on a daily basis.  Through computer-based programs, like OSCAR EMR, physicians can count on a reliable place where they can easily access patient information, instead of having to search through hundreds of physical papers.

Security.  Patient charts are very confidential.  Using an EMR is highly advantageous versus storing physical files.  For instance, an electronic patient chart can be password protected and is less likely to be lost.

Communication.  Through OSCAR EMR, physicians can communicate with one another by sending medical reports/referral notes to doctors, via a web based software.  Thus, eliminating the struggle of having to physically send paper or call.

Reduce Wait Times.  Being a patient, visiting clinics and watching other patience have to wait crazy amounts of time to see a doctor is very frustrating for the patient and clinic in trying to make sure the patient returns their next time around.  The ability to use technology to create an innovative way for patience to book appointments with their desired physician online can eliminate the need to call the clinic, as well as reducing the wait times for appointments.  Overall, creating a faster paced and more efficient patient visit, increasing both physician and patient satisfaction.

With the direction technology and healthcare is moving towards today, it is very important that hospitals and clinics integrate the two.  In addition to the advantages listed above, Infomedic has been a leader in healthcare technology, through OSCAR EMR as our platform.  Our future plans include innovating patient mobility to clinics, while increasing physician efficiency to revolutionize and improve healthcare as a whole.

E-Referrals: Requesting Appointments Has Never Been Easier

By: Miron Elias

E-referrals have begun to slowly enter the healthcare system and with their introduction, many wonder “why e-referrals?”  Clinics that use e-referrals today have proven to show more efficient collaboration within the clinic.  In addition, creating a smoother transition for patients to travel through the healthcare system.

Often times “premature” referrals are sent to specialists, where during the time of the appointment the specialist realizes the patients didn’t need to see a specialist as his/her issue was not as severe.  Lack of communication between doctors and specialist are a very common issue in today’s healthcare system, which results in time wasted for the patient and specialist, frustrated patients and excess government spending.

The solution to this problem all physicians and aspiring physicians should consider is using e-referrals. E-referrals is an integrative solution that takes a tech savvy approach to combine both technology and medicine to create a better healthcare system.  E-referrals would contain medical reports about the patient, as well as information about what exactly the problem is with the patient.

These E-referral would allow doctors to communicate with specialist through a secure web based service to further facilitate the exchange of information between doctors and specialist, limiting problems of sending “premature” referrals.  In doing so, patients will have a better idea of their diagnosis following possible medications that may be needed and any precautions that need to be taken.

What seemed to be impossible and the future years ago, is now a reality.  With the sudden burst in advances to technology, clinics and hospitals should take advantage of these resources to somehow combine technology with medicine to make healthcare better.  A good place to start is integrating the use of e-referrals in the healthcare system.

Better to be Safe, than Sorry: OSCAR EMR Backups

By: Hunster Yang, BSc Candidate (University of Western Ontario)

Questions we’ll explore in this INFOblog:

1. Why is OSCAR EMR external data backups necessary?
2. How do OSCAR EMR backups exactly work?

These are very valid questions that arise when one thinks about migrating to paperless technology. The truth is that, as much as we would like to believe that technology is impermeable to damage, it unfortunately isn’t. A simple water spill over my laptop can cost me all my notes, documents and files to disappear if they weren’t properly backed up…thank the stars for google drive!

Similarly, patient data is one of the most essential aspects of a clinic. That is why the transition from using paper-based charts to an EMR is unquestionably advantageous. However, it is inevitable that technologies are also susceptible to damage. It is possible for catastrophic events (i.e. floods, break-ins, storms, fires), disgruntled employees, physical damage, or viruses to jeopardize your EMR data.  Therefore, it is crucial to protect your EMR by sustaining the security of your records through EMR backups and fail over mechanisms.

There are a couple of ways to perform EMR backups and fail over onto your back up when such scenario arises. It is possible to perform EMR backups locally through external hard drives, DVDs, CDs, or USBs. However, backing up locally introduces various time, security and maintenance issues. It can be time-consuming, as you must include backing up data into your clinic’s daily schedule. After, the EMR records must be transported to a different, secure location. As well and more importantly, you must have a trained and responsible staff member to ensure that the EMR data is being backed up and transported daily.

Infomedic’s backup solution would not face the aforementioned issues, as our EMR backups reside in a secured tier 3 PIPEDA + PHIPA complaint data centre that is based locally in Toronto with a redundant failover data centre in Montreal (our backups have a backup!). In short, we perform EMR backups automatically online by transmitting the EMR data to a highly secured data centre every 4 hours. There would be no need for a staff member to manage the backups daily. It is simple, safer, more secure and significantly easier to maintain in the clinic’s and vendor’s perspective.

In brief, EMR backups could save a clinic a substantial amount of time and money in the long run. Storage of data isn’t free, of course; however it could be the very solution that saves your clinic from unpredictable situations that cost all of the patients’ data. Remember, it is always better to be safe, than sorry.


Disseminating Data: How OSCAR EMR Connects Physicians

By: Jessica Chin, BHSc, MD Candidate

The truth is, everything in medical school is digitalized. Using paper is almost archaic, which is why electronic medical records (EMRs) are almost expected by my fellow classmates. At this point in our careers, we’re hopeful and optimistic, believing that our future patients’ records will be all in one place like the way our iCloud or Google accounts are. Having worked in the health IT industry, however, I know that this is far from the truth.

With that said, EMR usage in Ontario has been increasing dramatically over the years, with 3 in 4 Ontarians having some sort of electronic medical record in place. What’s next on the menu is connecting these records, so that all physicians will have access to their patient’s complete medical chart. They teach us in medical school that the history determines 80% of the diagnosis, so connectivity is of utmost importance for us clinicians.

OSCAR EMR provides physicians with the ability to integrate with official eHealth Ontario platforms so that patients’ lab results and hospital reports are available with the click of a button. It ensures secure and reliable transfer of information so that confidential results are not lost in the paper chain (i.e. snail mail, fax, etc.).

Ontario Laboratory Information System (OLIS)
This digital repository of lab results from major hospital sites and community labs ensures that all lab work is shared amongst health care providers. This prevents duplication of tests and ultimately, the best patient care. In OSCAR EMR, lab results are automatically siphoned into two places: (1) the pertaining patient’s chart and (2) the ordering physician’s inbox. The first will appear within the patient’s e-chart/Encounter, highlighting in red if, you guessed it, results are abnormal. The second feature, however, is most convenient. All incoming lab results that you ordered will appear in your inbox, which can be sorted by normal and abnormal. Then, you can quickly and easily acknowledge that you’ve reviewed the results and address the patients that need attention with just one click.

Hospital Report Manager (HRM)
HRM works in the same manner as OLIS, appearing in both the patient’s e-chart and the ordering physician’s inbox. According to OntarioMD, HRM saves physicians an average of 33 minutes a day.

These platforms are only available through OntarioMD-certified EMRs. Infomedic is an approved OSCAR EMR service provider (Charter OSP), authorized to support and install an OntarioMD-certified version of OSCAR 15.0 (i.e. the latest version of OSCAR to date). Not all versions of OSCAR EMR are OntarioMD-certified, so be careful!

Overall, Ontario is moving towards electronic health records (EHRs), where all physicians will have access to one central patient chart. I have my fingers crossed that this will be implemented by the time my classmates and I are able to practice.

For more information on what Ontario has accomplished thus far, click here.



By: Bhavin Shah, MD HealthIT Professional, Published on Mon Jan 25 2016

Frequently, clinical managers/owners grapple with tough EMR decisions. Age old questions that stem from solo clinics to enterprise private hospitals include: “Why OSCAR EMR?” and “who is Infomedic?”

Managers and physician owners find themselves sleeplessly up all night thinking about which EMR provider to utilize and whether the financial burden is justified. Infomedic has heard the battle cries  of clinical managers and created this “INFO blog”. Our vision is to bring some organization to the decision models currently being used when choosing an EMR. We would also like to alleviate and eliminate any misconceptions about the entire EMR decision making process and make it as simplified as possible. Let us assist you on your journey as your clinic transitions from paper to digital.

The following is the first part of our 3 part series on why some physicians are choosing OSCAR EMR over other systems after they question themselves for countless nights.

Software Flexibility. OSCAR EMR is open source software that is continually in development and maintained by McMaster University and supported by a very large OSCAR User Community. The OSCAR User Community, along with its database of thousands of free EMR templates and eforms, can be found here: http://oscarcanada.org/. The OSCAR user community engages OSCAR McMaster developers by requesting feature changes (e.g. integrate an encounter timer on the encounter note, integrate new methadone module) to make the software more user friendly and increase user experience (UX). In an agile project management model, OSCAR is continually changing for the better with the help of all the talented OSCAR developers. Feature Change Requests migrate through a vetting process and eventually get added into subsequent stable releases of certified OSCAR offerings by all Approved OSCAR EMR Service Providers (OSP).  The community can also post up their own source code to have it checked by the OSCAR development team. This kind of software flexibility is unparalleled in the EMR world and will be the future of all software. The point of the software flexibility allows individuals to bring their EMR ideas to life to innovate new and improved modules.

OMD Funding Eligible Solution. Subsidize OSCAR EMR by partnering up with OntarioMD (OMD). Infomedic offers an OSCAR EMR solution that can be subsidized by OMD’s EMR adoption program. For our OSCAR system to be OMD certified, Infomedic guarantees and maintains specific service levels and response times (e.g. 15min for emergency issues) that are outlined by OMD, in addition to setting up each clinic with their own physical on-site server. This allows Infomedic to offer specific levels of customer server, system integrity and product quality.

Price. OSCAR EMR is open source thus making it the most cost effective solution in the market. The world still has not fully adopted the idea behind open source projects and just like Tesla Motors, OSCAR and its user community will outpace the development cycles of any proprietary software company in the healthcare IT world. Harnessing the collective minds of healthcare software developers to constantly create new and improved modules will be the new “norm” within the EMR industry. Additionally, from a hardware perspective, OSCAR requires less hardware resources then most EMR’s in the market. In most cases a mid size office server is sufficient to run an OSCAR instance. OSCAR is easily manageable by a clinics IT team for minor issues (with proper training), thus reducing more bottom line costs.

No Lock In. Why allow another company to dictate how and when you want to change EMR providers? Get the freedom you deserve, its your clinic.

Data Mobility. The clinic owns the data, always. Patient and EMR data is saved in such a way that it can easily be extracted and migrated over to another OSCAR Service Provider or another EMR with a click of a button at no additional costs. A misconception that many clinic managers make (probably because many vendors perpetuate the hurdles in migrating one system to another) is that migration costs are astronomical and that its impossible to transfer one systems data to another. Data migration is not difficult! “Moving one system to another”, is simply moving data tables within one system to the data tables to another system. All data tables are in the same xml, html, sql, excel format therefore migration is not as painful as it sounds. Infomedic data architects do this for a living and enjoy the entire migration process.

Scalability. OSCAR is so well programmed it utilizes hardware resources in such a way that it has the ability to scale up to 1000 concurrent physician users with 500K patient files on a single instance on a medium to high grade, 8 core business server without experiencing any noticeable lag.

SLA and Resources. OSCAR EMR Service Level Agreements are the best in the market. Our help desk, tech team, architect team and engineers are always ready to help at a moments notice. High priority issues will be responded to with 15 min of either a phone call, email or ticket 24/7.

Local. We are located at 700 Markham Rd., in the heart of east Toronto. Many clinical managers look over this key component when deciding who to choose as their EMR specialists. Infomedic is locally based and extremely flexible, meaning that our technicians can physically attend to clinics, if necessary, to fix issues that require hands on work, just like the geek squad from best buy. This adds to our customer service profile and puts many clinic managers anxieties at ease.

*ISC Open Sourced EMR is a modified version of the OSCAR open source software code which is available through: OSCAR EMR . ISC Open Sourced EMR is not affiliated with McMaster University or OSCAR EMR.