Written by Revin Samuel, OntarioMD Staff
OntarioMD’s EMR: Every Step Conference returns to Toronto on September 28, 2017. This year we’re offering more than 25 new educational sessions, a series of EMR training workshops, the vendor showcase area, opportunities to meet with OntarioMD Peer Leaders, networking opportunities and keynote addresses from Ontario’s Deputy Minister of Health, Dr. Bob Bell, as well as patient advocate and former VP of Public Affairs for SickKids and Mount Sinai Hospitals, Judith John. And the conference has been certified by the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Ontario Chapter for up to 7.5 Mainpro+ credits, which are transferrable for specialists!
But what is now Canada’s largest EMR conference series has humble roots. OntarioMD first launched nearly a decade ago as a series of small EMR seminars and vendor showcases in small towns across Ontario. In the early days of EMR adoption, these events gave Ontario community-based physicians and their staff an important opportunity to gather with like-minded clinicians and get the information and education they needed to make use of the new technology. They could meet with OntarioMD staff and vendors of OntarioMD-certified EMRs under one roof, gathering tips and best practices.
Interest in those initial events grew as EMRs gained acceptance and popularity. The first EMR: Every Step Conference took place in Ottawa in 2012. By then, the focus had expanded as more physicians moved from selecting and implementing an EMR to wanting to understand how to optimize its use in their practices. Popular sessions focused on privacy and security and using EMRs to improve chronic disease management. And the vendor showcase was bigger and better than ever.
I found the conference to be inspiring; what I got out of it was a completely new way of looking at how I practice medicine.” – Dr. Ron Ireland
In the years since, the agenda has incorporated even more content on advanced EMR use to improve practice workflows and patient outcomes. OntarioMD Peer Leaders – practicing physicians, clinic managers and nurses in the field who are considered EMR experts – began to deliver presentations educating their colleagues on EMR best practices. And the conference has become a platform for OntarioMD’s digital health partners to present some of the latest innovations in health care technology. Organizations such as the Ontario Telemedicine Network (OTN), Health Quality Ontario (HQO), Cancer Care Ontario (CCO), eHealth Ontario, and the Ontario Medical Association, have all established a firm presence at the EMR: Every Step Conference.
The conference has grown grew from a regional EMR seminar series to the largest event of its kind in the country. Attendance grew from about 50 physicians per event to more several hundred in smaller cities to about 1,000 in Toronto. The conferences have also expanded from two streams of content to four streams. The vendor showcase has expanded from 10 EMR vendors demonstrating the features of their certified EMR products, to more than 25 vendors and health care and related technology organizations exhibiting at the conference. And in 2015, we began to call for abstracts, giving the Ontario clinicians who had become EMR power users the opportunity to present their own innovative ideas on how EMRs are changing health care.
“The conference was really helpful. It has broadened my perspective and filled in the gaps so I can better use my EMR to serve my patients” – Dr. Amy Wong
The EMR: Every Step Conference now attracts almost 1,000 attendees each year. We’ve introduced a conference app to give attendees a chance to read speaker bios, create their own personalized conference agenda, complete and submit event evaluations, and even see which of their colleagues are attending. We’ve expanded opportunities for attendees to meet one-on-one with Peer Leaders, and complete an EMR Progress Assessment with OntarioMD Practice Advisors.
Clinicians across Ontario have come to anticipate the EMR: Every Step Conference each year. As your trusted advisor for EMR optimization, we will continue to find new ways to grow and add valuable, leading-edge content to Canada’s largest EMR conference series in the years to come.