From detailed guides to online courses – resources are available to provide you with the knowledge necessary to build and integrate EHR applications.

Integrating with the EHR

Two main approaches allow information to be exchanged between point of service applications and the EHR:

  • System-to-system communication through the HIAL using web services – the information flow is in both directions (e.g. service requests and responses, inbound storing of data, and outbound notification to a provider of a new report) 
  • Through a portlet in a portal – portlets also access web services, but provide a user-friendly, task-oriented interface which lends itself to use in combination with other portlets inside a portal, using a web browser

Both methods must be based on industry standards. Portlets rely on standards such as Web Services for Remote Portlets (WSRP), while web services are based on industry-recognized standards and may use data messaging standards such as HL7 and DICOM. Portlets are generally more easily integrated with point of service applications because they do not require the same direct system-to-system connectivity. However, they can only present data in a prescribed manner, which means that accessing data via a portlet gives less flexibility. Accessing a web service gives users raw data so they can display it as desired.

The health care industry has established business activities and workflows as well as guidelines and standards of practice. eHealth Ontario has no requirement or intent to alter the normal flow of business in the health care setting. The goal of the EHR is to enhance the quality and quantity of information available to users, while minimizing the impact and disruption to critical systems. With this in mind, eHealth Ontario provides no direct instruction on where and how to use the EHR, but makes information available and provides integration patterns and data delivery channels, with the expectation that the community will best understand how to use the information in their daily tasks. eHealth Ontario also works with the provider community and their authoritative bodies to enable transformative technology.

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