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Ontario Medical Review
Feb. 21, 2024

HRM Task Force recommendations: What’s next?

Two reports outline an implementation plan for hospitals and how vendors can improve EMR usability to reduce the digital report burden

Doctors can expect to spend less time on Health Report Manager (HRM®) reports and more time with their patients. To improve the formatting of the reports and reduce the volume of reports doctors receive, the hospitals that format and send the reports through HRM, and the electronic medical record (EMR) systems that doctors use to receive the reports, must make some changes to their systems. 

The HRM Experience Improvement Task Force, introduced by OntarioMD, has finalized its recommendations following physicians’ call for improvements to reduce the volume of reports and the quality of the patient information in the reports, which have been overwhelming physicians’ EMR inboxes and making it hard to find relevant clinical data. 

After a year of evaluating solutions with task force members from the OMA, Ontario Health, the Ontario Hospital Association, hospitals, EMR vendors and hospital information system vendors, OntarioMD is working with hospitals and EMR vendors to trial these recommendations in the coming months. 

The following are the highlights from the recently published report on recommendations for hospitals (i.e., sending facilities) that the task force was charged with solving: 

  • Lessen the high volume of reports: Decrease the number of unnecessary reports and deliver only the reports on the proposed Core Report List 
  • Reduce duplicate faxed reports: Eliminate faxes for reports that are delivered through HRM 
  • Decrease multiple drafts of the same report: Send only final reports 
  • Reduce duplicate reports from multiple diagnostic imaging investigations: Ensure only one report is delivered through HRM when a single narrative applies to multiple investigations 
  • PDF vs. text reports: Send text-based reports whenever possible to make the report contents easier to search within EMRs 
  • Standardize reports and improve categorization: Leverage LOINC (an international naming standard) to identify report types and ensure report categories are specific for better report management 
  • Make reports easier to review: Present important information (e.g., impression and plan) at the top. Identify attending clinician, ordering/referring clinician, and key results clearly 

Highlights of the recommendations for EMR vendors to improve physicians’ experience with reports in their EMRs: 

  • Review PDF reports more easily in your workflow: Enable an embedded PDF viewer 
  • Eliminate manual mapping: Improve report auto-categorization functionality 
  • Resolve the inconsistency of HRM report service date vs. received date in the clinician’s inbox: Define and display both service date and received date 
  • Improve searching for reports: Create specific searchable fields and a free text search 
  • Help prioritize reports and see relevant clinical information: Create a one-step workflow for flagging relevant HRM reports

Implementing these recommendations is important for Ontario physicians. When these recommendations are realized, HRM will provide better information that supports patient care and there will be a decrease in the administrative burden faced by physicians. This work also contributes to the five-year ‘Patients Before Paperwork’ (Pb4P) initiative being spearheaded by the Ministry of Health and Ontario Health collaboratively. Pb4P will implement a co-ordinated and integrated set of digital solutions to front-line providers through a clinically guided change program, with a focus on primary care. This initiative will support health-care providers to transition off fax machines through the delivery of several connected digital solutions that aim to address areas of high provider burden. 

OntarioMD is committed to this work and is very appreciative of the collaborative support of all the organizations represented on the Task Force. Together, these groups are committed to advancing these recommendations.

Download the reports containing the two sets of recommendations: 1) Sending Facility Service Standards Report and 2) EMR Usability Report.

To get the latest news on the HRM Task Force recommendations and next steps, sign up to receive OntarioMD’s Digital Health eTips newsletter at

The OMA released Prescription for Ontario: Doctors’ Solutions for Immediate Action in October 2023, outlining 11 pragmatic solutions the top three most urgent health system priorities: 

  • Fixing the crisis in primary care to ensure everyone has access to a family doctor 
  • Addressing the growing burden of unnecessary administration 
  • Increasing community capacity and tackling hospital overcrowding 

One of the solutions to addressing administrative burden is the improvement of HRM through the adoption of the task force’s recommendations. Read the full Solutions Report.