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EMR Certification

EMR Certification – Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Manitoba Certified EMR Product and a Manitoba Approved EMR Vendor?

In 2009 the Manitoba government (Manitoba) completed a Request for Qualification process to identify Manitoba Approved EMR Vendors and their EMR solutions. In this competitive process, EMR products were evaluated against a robust set of requirements including basic and advanced EMR functionality as well as ancillary services such as pricing, support and solution usability. Four vendors were selected.

EMR Certification is a non-competitive process which focuses on the EMR product to determine if it meets a baseline set of clinical and administrative requirements critical to support core clinic operations and provincial initiatives, and to ensure the product can reliably and securely integrate with Manitoba’s provincial services. Certification does not include assessment or evaluation of the product’s usability, the EMR applicant’s financial viability or their ancillary services (e.g. pricing, EMR implementation, operational support, etc.).

In both models, EMR purchasers have the responsibility to ensure the product meets their individual needs. Read our Purchaser Responsibilities summary for more information.

Why is it important to have provincial EMR standards?

Provincial standards ensure EMRs have a solid foundation to support delivery of quality patient care.  Provincial standards also support:

  • information sharing and interoperability between primary care sites and specialists to improve continuity of care
  • consistent and measurable preventative care and chronic disease management
  • advancement of primary care renewal efforts
  • consistent data collection and submission to support health system planning

Certification of EMR products against provincial standards supports achievement of these objectives, while managing cost and risk.

What are the benefits of using a Manitoba Certified EMR Product?
By using a Manitoba Certified EMR Product, clinics have some assurance that the EMR meets core requirements. It also ensures that they meet privacy and security requirements which protect patient personal information and ensures secure connections with provincial systems. Only Manitoba Certified EMR Products will have the opportunity to integrate with provincial services such as eChart Manitoba (provincial electronic health record) and eHealth_hub (secure electronic delivery of lab and diagnostic imaging results into the EMR) ensuring providers have critical information to support quality patient care. Depending on the level of certification, EMR products may provide access to primary care quality indicator reminders, clinical information sharing opportunities (such as information sharing between primary and episodic providers) and centralized patient enrolment functionality. Manitoba, Manitoba clinicians, and EMR vendors of certified products will work as a collaborative team on product enhancements to meet customer needs and support the advancement of Manitoba’s healthcare system.

What responsibilities do I have as a customer purchasing a Manitoba Certified EMR?
Manitoba’s EMR Certification is limited to the requirements developed and agreed upon by Manitoba physicians and other clinicians, as well as Regional Health Authorities of Manitoba, Manitoba eHealth, and Manitoba Health, Healthy Living and Seniors’ stakeholders. Before making a purchase, there are a number of important factors to consider. Customers have specific responsibilities to ensure that the product and the vendor meet their individual needs beyond the scope of Manitoba EMR Certification. Read our Purchaser Responsibilities summary for more information.

What assistance will be available to support customer EMR purchase decisions?
Manitoba recognizes the importance of this decision to clinics and patients.  An overview of the factors that should be considered when choosing an EMR is available in our Purchaser Responsibilities summary. Manitoba eHealth plans to offer a variety of other resources regarding EMR Certification to support the decision-making process.

What is the difference between the two levels of certification and why are they necessary?
Manitoba recognizes that a clinic’s needs may vary based on practice context and has supported this by developing two levels of EMR Certification. Standard Certification includes assessment against Manitoba’s baseline clinical, administrative, and privacy/security requirements along with the eChart Manitoba (provincial electronic health record) context-sensitive launch specification.

This first level may be appropriate for EMR vendors whose target customer includes specialists and/or other clinicians whose needs may be met with a basic level of EMR integration. Standard Certification may also appeal to EMR vendors wanting to enter the Manitoba market with a lower initial investment. EMR vendors may choose to enhance their EMR product over time to achieve full Integrated EMR Certification. 

Integrated EMR Certification builds upon the Standard Certification foundation, and provides access to additional functionality through optional components such as primary care quality indicator reminders, the primary care data extract, and electronic delivery of lab and diagnostic imaging results. Future interoperability components may include clinical information sharing opportunities (such as information sharing between primary and episodic providers) and centralized patient enrolment functionality. Target clinics include primary care or community specialty clinics of all sizes who are seeking a highly interoperable EMR system and those involved in provincial initiatives such as My Health Teams.

To support provincial primary care direction, EMR products with Integrated EMR Certification will have future opportunities to collaborate on and integrate with new provincial programs, initiatives and services that further enhance the product and provide more functionality to customers.

More information about the two levels of certification can be found on our website.

How can my EMR product move from Standard to Integrated EMR Certification?
In order to move to the next level of certification, your EMR product would be required to meet the assessment criteria of the higher level certification, as outlined on the Manitoba eHealth website. The flexibility of our process allows EMR vendors to work towards Integrated Certification in a phased approach through the selection of optional components.  Applications for any or all of the optional components may be submitted at any time once Standard Certification has been achieved. This allows vendors of Certified EMR Products to work towards Integrated Certification over time, at their own pace, driven by customer demand.  Information on application and status on assessment for optional components will be posted on the Manitoba eHealth website. We recommend speaking with the EMR product vendor to better understand their future plans in this regard.

Can my vendor apply to have their EMR certified?
Manitoba’s EMR Certification is a non-competitive process with periodic application windows.  Certification is accessible to any EMR vendor owning the intellectual property of their EMR product. The EMR vendor should be confident their product will be able to meet all assessment criteria for the certification level being requested (as published on the Manitoba eHealth public website). Applications will be accepted between February 1 and April 1, 2016 and processed on a first come, first served basis. This will enable Manitoba eHealth to manage the resources necessary to complete the certification process. Applications for Integrated EMR Certification will be prioritized as they support the provincial primary care direction.

After April 1, 2016, EMR vendors are welcome to submit an Expression of Interest at any time. Manitoba may open further application windows if, for example:

  • existing certified EMR products are not meeting the needs of the Manitoba marketplace; or
  • there is sufficient customer support for an EMR product not yet certified in Manitoba.

Manitoba will assess the need to open subsequent application windows at least once each year.

How can I find out which EMRs are currently certified or going through the certification process?
Information will be posted to the Manitoba eHealth website regarding an EMR product’s status throughout the certification process.

How will EMR products be assessed during the Certification process?
Manitoba will utilize a variety of assessment methods during the certification process. These methods include Assertion (based on the applicant’s self-assessment of product), Verification (by a member of the Manitoba EMR Certification Team), Demonstration (by the applicant to the Manitoba EMR Certification Team) and System Integration Testing (specific to interoperability functions).

Assessment methods will be clearly indicated within provincial specifications publicly available on the Manitoba eHealth website. The goal for completion of the assessment phase is within 180 calendar days for each EMR product. Please note that assessments may be occurring concurrently with multiple products and Manitoba reserves the right to prioritize applications for Integrated EMR Certification as they align more closely with provincial primary care goals.

Are there any fees associated with Manitoba’s EMR Certification?
There is no fee to applicants for Manitoba’s EMR Certification.

What happens if my product is not successful in meeting the certification criteria?
Each EMR vendor will have a dedicated Product Lead from the EMR Certification Team coordinating all assessment activities and providing subject-matter expertise on all EMR requirements involved in Certification. Throughout the assessment process, Product Leads will provide EMR vendors with current state product deficiency documentation. Vendors will be expected to remedy all deficiencies within the 180 calendar day assessment period. Every effort will be made to work collaboratively with EMR vendors to complete EMR Product Certification within agreed upon timelines.

How long is the EMR certification term?
The Certification Term will continue until such time as either Manitoba or the vendor terminates the agreement. See the next question and answer for information about maintaining certified status over time.

What activities or deliverables are required to maintain certification in Manitoba?
The Agreement for EMR Certification encourages a long-term, collaborative relationship between vendors of Certified EMR Products and Manitoba. From time-to-time, EMR requirements from the certification process may be updated or new requirements may be introduced to support best practice guidelines or provincial programs. Vendors of Certified EMR Products, as key stakeholders, will be provided opportunities to contribute to development and review of provincial standards.

Updates to requirements will be posted on our website and vendors will be fully informed of any mandatory changes through a formal Change Order Process occurring twice per year. To maintain certification, EMR products will be required to certify against updated or new requirements as applicable to their level of certification. Manitoba eHealth’s website will be updated with each product’s certification status.

Will vendors be paid to make changes required to maintain certification?
Manitoba may choose to remunerate for activities related to Certified EMR Product enhancements. Many factors will be taken into account, including the complexity of the changes, and will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

Could a Certified EMR product be de-certified in the future?
The new product certification approach reduces the probability of de-certification, and Manitoba will do everything within its control to mitigate this risk going forward. However, there are scenarios under which a product could be de-certified. Reasons may include, for example, product non-compliance or events in the marketplace. If a product no longer meets assessment criteria, Manitoba will work with the vendor to correct the deficiency before de-certification is considered. Information regarding the certification status of each EMR product will be shared through Manitoba eHealth's website.

The software market is dynamic and subject to change (e.g. mergers, acquisitions, withdrawal from a market, other changes in the vendor’s strategic direction, etc.). These changes could lead to de-certification and are beyond the control of EMR Purchasers and Manitoba. EMR purchasers must be aware of the business risk associated with any important technology purchase. Read our Purchaser Responsibilities summary for more information.

If an EMR product is de-certified, this does not mean that your clinic must change products. EMR purchase decisions are individual clinic decisions, and are dependent on the strategic priorities of your clinic. Manitoba will assess the potential implications for any clinic known to be using that EMR, and communicate directly with them. Our team will be available to answer questions, and ensure clinics have the information available to make informed decisions.

If you have any questions relating to Manitoba’s EMR Certification, email EMR@manitoba-ehealth.ca


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