These resources can help you discover what works best for your practice and to get started with learning the basic functions of your EMR.

  • EMR Instruction Sheets: These quick reference guides provide an overview of basic functions for select EMRs and are intended for new users to help get started. 

  • EMR Orientation Videos: Helps staff who use Accuro, Profile, Med Access, or Oscar EMR systems. 

  • CMPA Electronic Records Handbook: A practical resource from the Canadian Protective Medical Association describing the implementation and use of electronic medical records (EMRs) and electronic health records (EHRs). 

  • BC Cancer Screening Titles Naming Conventions: Reference document for naming convention of BC Cancer Screening Programs report titles to community EMRs.


Below is a list of FAQs related to the use of an EMR in your practice. Our health technology team is also available to provide more detailed and tailored guidance. Email us at to get connected to a support team member.

Choosing & Implementing an EMR

Which EMR vendor should I choose?

When selecting an EMR, consider your practice's unique needs and workflows. The College of Family Physicians' guide on Adopting EMRs in a Patient’s Medical Home outlines crucial features that should be considered. Engage with multiple vendors to discuss their services, support, training, and costs. It is essential to align the EMR with your practice's requirements for optimal integration.

What is the timeline for implementing a new EMR system?

Your EMR vendor can advise you of anticipated timelines. The timeline for EMR implementation varies depending on your specific scenario. If moving from a paper-based system, plan for 2-6 months, factoring in tasks like IT setup, training, and configuration. Transferring data from one EMR to another may take 1-6 months. Notify both vendors (old and new) as soon as possible to ensure a timely transition.
For advice and resources on preparing for a data transfer, refer to the section on EMR Data Migrations & Data Portability.

Do I need to transfer my paper records if I am implementing a new EMR? 

The cost versus benefit of transferring all paper records to an electronic format needs to be explored and is not always recommended. Sometimes an approach is taken where only records for complex or frequently seen patients are transferred, and the remaining records are filed as paper records within the practice or archived. Speak to your EMR vendor regarding their approach, recommendations, and processes. 

How long should I keep the paper medical record if I have transferred it to the EMR? 

The College only requires one original medical record to be retained. Review the College’s practice standard on Medical Records for details of this guideline.

What training is available for EMR users?

Initial EMR purchase includes basic training, and additional post-implementation training can be requested from the vendor, typically with a fee. Contact your vendor for a quote. Designating a super-user for new staff training or shared training with neighboring clinics is advisable.
The Practice Support Program (PSP) offers a range of EMR supports that help physicians and practice teams use their EMRs more effectively for both foundational and quality improvement activities. Learn more about the Practice Support Program and their EMR supports here.

EMR costs

What are the approximate start-up and maintenance costs for various EMR systems?

EMR pricing varies depending on several factors including practice size, number of users, service model, customization, etc. Each vendor will have different pricing models and you will need to contact the vendor directly for personalized quotes. Compare the initial cost plus monthly fees over a 5-year period to get a better sense of the long-term cost differences. Ask about other services that the vendor may charge for, such as data transfers, IT support and training, and add-on features, as these costs can also vary between vendors. 

Is there any funding available for EMRs?

There is currently no provincial funding available for EMR adoption. Compensation and certification are available for your practice improvement activities supported by FPSC's practice support program, which may include working through the phases of panel management, or other quality improvement activities using your EMR. Go here to learn more about the details and eligibility.

Will I be charged for adding a new physician, locum, or staff to my EMR?

EMR service costs can be influenced by the number of full-time physicians in your practice. License expenses vary by vendor and require direct discussion. Certain service models accommodate MOAs and locums, and some offer pricing alternatives for part-time or reduced-hour physicians. Further information and licensing options can be obtained by contacting your EMR vendor.

EMR security

How can I ensure that my EMR and clinic information is secure?

Two foundational resources that will guide you on the privacy and security best practices for clinics in BC include the Physician Office IT Security Guide and BC Physician Privacy Toolkit. These tools offer practical steps and tools to enhance privacy and security at the clinic level and to assist physicians in meeting their obligations under the Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA). 

Refer to the Clinic Security section of the DTO website for more information and resources to help ensure the protection of patient information. 

Other national resources include: 

How can I monitor and audit staff’s use of the EMR?

EMR usage is controlled by a functionality within each EMR known as Role-Based Access. This function limits a user’s access to only the information needed for their job and duties within the clinic. With this EMR function you can assign specific permissions for each type of user to particular types of health information. Ask your vendor to help you define the roles of each user and ensure that access permissions are aligned with the various roles.
Refer to the Doctors of BC Guidelines for Electronic Medical Records and Role-Based Access for questions to consider when defining roles and determining which areas and permissions should be granted access for each user. You can also refer to DTO’s Managing User Accounts and Passwords for additional information and helpful tools.

Are nurses or other allied health professionals in my clinic allowed to chart in the EMR?

Other health professionals besides the most responsible provider (MRP) can chart in a patient’s medical record if they are considered part of the patient’s circle of care. If the care team member is employed by another health service organization (e.g. a Health Authority) then a team charting agreement is suggested to help govern this access.

Role-Based Access controls should be in place to limit access to only patient information that is required to provide patient care. Every healthcare provider in your clinic needs to have a unique username and password and these should never be shared between users. Speak with your vendor to learn more about these features or for any questions about licensing costs or setting up access for team based care.

I have an employee leaving my clinic, what do I need to do with their EMR user login account?

The login account of the employee who is leaving should be disabled immediately upon departure and can be done using the EMR’s administrator tools. Contact your EMR vendor helpdesk for any assistance.

What is the Private Physician Network or PPN?

The Private Physician Network (PPN) is the private, high-speed network available to physicians and practice staff to enable secure access to clinical information in their EMR systems. Provincial Health Services Authority (PHSA) offers the PPN service as part of a province-wide initiative. Contact PHSA PPN Admin at to find out whether the PPN is available at your specific address.

What needs to happen with my PPN if I am moving my clinic?

If you are moving or closing your clinic it is critical that you also cancel your PPN service. You can contact PPN admin at to notify them of your move and request a cancellation. If you are moving clinics and wish to remain on the PPN it is also recommended that you give PPN admin sufficient notice (a minimum of three months is recommended) to ensure that the circuit will be available at your new location.

Remote access

Can I enter information into my EMR remotely?

This functionality is dependent on the EMR system used. For some EMRs you can both view and enter information into your EMR when accessing it remotely. Contact your vendor to learn more about remote access options and to ensure that you have sufficient security measures in place.

How can I order or deactivate a PPN VPN remote access token?

To order, deactivate or replace a lost or faulty EMR remote access token, or if you have the old RSA tokens or a soft MobilePASS, contact the PHSA support desk at and they will be able to help reset your passwords and/or order replacement tokens.

EMR data migrations & data portability

If I am considering switching EMR systems how should I proceed?

It is important to contact both EMR vendors as soon as possible to allow sufficient time to prepare. DTO has created resources that can be found here to provide an overview of common types of EMR data transfers and how to best prepare your data for a successful migration.

Will I be charged for a data migration?

The majority of EMR vendors will charge a fee for data extraction and conversions. Refer to your contract and discuss with your vendor the full scope of services they will provide and what costs may be incurred. If you do not have a copy of your contract, you can contact your vendor to request one. It is also important to discuss with your future EMR vendor what support will be provided during the transition and any associated costs. Request both vendors to provide a detailed migration plan and cost breakdown before making any commitments.

Can I access records from my old EMR?

Refer to your vendor contract for any existing agreements on enduring access. Discuss with your vendor the options for accessing previous records, including billing information and financials, and confirm with them how long access will be available. Ask the vendor to provide a quote for any associated costs and confirm that the terms of access are outlined in your contract with your new EMR vendor and that they are aligned with your potential needs.

Medical records storage

How long do I need to retain a patient’s medical record?

Medical records must be retained for a minimum period of 16 years from either the date of last patient contact, or until the patient reaches age 35 for patients under 19, except as otherwise required by law. Refer to the CPSBC Medical Records Management Practice Standard for more information. 

What should I do with the patient records if I am retiring or leaving practice?

Medical records that are still within the legal retention period must be transferred to the custody of another physician, public hospital, or health authority, or placed in a safe storage facility (e.g., MedRecords for digital storage) if they are remaining in the custody of the original physician.
Refer to the CPSBC Medical Records Management Practice Standard for a detailed overview of requirements for transferring or storing medical records. Business Pathways also has a detailed overview of critical steps to take when closing your practice.

Are there any options for storing medical records?

MedRecords is a BC-based, non-profit organization that has been endorsed by Doctors of BC as a supplier of choice for medical records retention. All records are stored for a minimum of 35 years and patients can retrieve their records for a fee. Click here for more details on MedRecords.

In the unlikely event that MedRecords closes, Doctors of BC would take custody of electronically stored medical records. You can learn more about MedRecord’s Office Practice Closure Services here

Technical support

Who should I contact if I am experiencing technical issues with my EMR?

Your EMR vendor’s Help Desk should always be the first point of contact to report a technical issue related to your EMR. In some cases, a local IT support vendor may need to assist. When a solution to an issue cannot be found or is unresolved in a timely manner, you may send an email to and we can work with your vendor or other third-party to help.

Do I need third-party IT support or will my EMR vendor provide it?

Every clinic should have a contract with an external IT support provider. Your EMR vendor only provides support for the EMR system itself. However, your clinic will also require IT support for other technology elements that are essential for maintaining the functionality of your clinic operations. Refer to the DTO webpage on Choosing a security lead for help selecting appropriate IT support for your clinic. It is best practice to already have an IT contract in place rather than waiting until a problem arises to find support.

If I am experiencing issues with billing through my EMR, what should I do?

Your first line of contact for any EMR issues should be your vendor. However, any questions related to rejections or payments amount may need to be directed to MSP’s Teleplan Support Centre (contact information here).

If your clinic is using an alternative payment model such as Population Based Funding (PBF), contact your vendor directly to confirm that your EMR meets the specifications required to submit claims under this model and to learn more about the billing process specific to that EMR.

Accessing provincial systems

The province offers a range of technological tools and resources to support physicians in managing their practice. To learn more about these systems, visit this page: Essential technology for doctors in BC.

The Doctors Technology Office is an initiative of the Family Practice Services Committee (FPSC), a joint partnership of Doctors of BC and the Government and BC.