Get Commercial Support - the OSCAR Support Providers (OSPs)
You are free to 'do it yourself' but this requires proper understanding of server administration and security. The breadth and depth of IT expertise required should not be underestimated. At OCUS we strongly recommend engaging a professional support provider to ensure security, data integrity and optimal functioning of your OSCAR system. The OSCAR Canada User Society (OCUS) provides the listing below of OSCAR Support Providers (OSPs).
If you are browsing from Ontario, read more about the provincial ON govt funding process for OSCAR here.
Our OSP Listing Policy
OSCAR Support Providers are independent, private companies. Listing on this page does not imply affiliation with, or endorsement of, any of these companies by us at OCUS, and we do not vet the organizations we list.
The OSP's below have qualified for listing on this site by responding to the survey requested by OCUS. The survey asks for simple demographic information such as business location, contact information, years in business, and an aggregate count of users being supported. No personal, identifying information about users is sent. This allows OCUS to track the growth of OSCAR usage across Canada and internationally. New OSP's who wish to be listed are also asked to provide two references.
Potential new OSCAR users are strongly encouraged to practice due diligence when choosing an OSP. We suggest asking for references and joining the OSCAR UserGroup email discussion list to ask other OSCAR users about their experiences.
OSCAR Support Providers are listed alphabetically. This is not a complete list of all support providers:
Our List of OSCAR Support Providers (OSPs)
Based in Eastern Canada:
Based in Western Canada:
Non-commercial OSCAR Support Provider:
Most of these companies provide installation, setup and training services and you can purchase an 'out of the box' solution, an OSCAR server and backup device/server with OSCAR already installed and configured for you. You may also choose (we strongly recommend) to get ongoing support and training from one of the OSCAR Service Providers. Security and reliability of your OSCAR system should be paramount in your plans.
The Open Source Code of Conduct
OSCAR users everywhere benefit from the spirit of sharing and collegiality that the open source mechanism imparts and formalizes. Improvements and developments done to the code by one developer will benefit others in the community, and in turn, the one will benefit from improvements incorporated by others. The OSCAR community trusts McMaster University to be the non-commercial keepers of the trunk of the code, and that development updates and improvements are incorporated to it using the rigorous quality mechanisms, versioning systems and technology standards (ISO 13485, GIT, Maven) successfully implemented with significant effort over the last years. Our friends at McMaster have provided an invaluable service to us over the years and we have much reason to be thankful. We would like them to continue in this role.
The EMR market is a competitive one, and the OSCAR support market is no exception. In this context, good open source principles will occasionally collide with special interests. While it is natural in the business world to want to achieve a competitive advantage, the open source mechanism provides important protection to the OSCAR end user from the real possibility of specific support vendors leveraging specific pieces of program customization and development built for their clients, to bind those clients in a vendor-lock-in situation. Such protection is not available to users of proprietary EMR products.
However this protection can only be effective if the open source licence is respected and new code shared by incorporating it into the common trunk of the code maintained by McMaster University.
As the OCUS board, we would like to strongly encourage our members to consistently ensure that any custom programming work done for them by their OSCAR support providers is properly submitted to the OSCAR technical committee for sharing to the OSCAR trunk maintained at McMaster on an ongoing basis. Doing so consistently will not only ensure that the OSCAR end user will benefit from shared improvement, it will also prevent the end user from being held to ransom by their support provider by getting locked into specific custom functionality.
Community is what makes OSCAR stand apart from other EMR products. At the Oscar Canada User Society we are working to represent community interests.
To read more about open source software click here.
Key Role-Players in the OSCAR Community
OSCAR is a free, open source product, for which a competitive and expanding market of companies can provide installation and support. In this context it helps to clarify the role of the various players in the OSCAR world.
1) The Oscar Canada Users Society "OCUS" is a not-for-profit society with a democratically elected board representing the interests of the user community in steering the project. All OSCAR end users are encouraged to become active members OCUS. You are currently looking at our OCUS website maintained by board volunteers.
2) OSCAR support providers (OSPs) install and maintain the EMR solution for the end user. They are entitled to levy support fees for this service and they compete in the open market for the support business. Under the terms of the open source license, OSPs do not have rights to sell licenses for the use of OSCAR, or to sell their own software products derived from OSCAR.3) McMaster university is the non-commercial sponsor, project manager and development coordinator of the OSCAR project. McMaster also holds the strong open source license (GPLv2) to the bulk of the code base and they are trusted to maintain the code repository and to ensure the project remains unified, free and certified with ISO and OntarioMD. The official repository version of the source code is identified as "OSCAR McMaster". This serves to differentiate the main trunk from unofficial forked versions of the OSCAR project that might occasionally appear. The folks at McMaster maintain their own OSCAR website.
In Ontario the agency charged with adjudicating govt funding for EMR deployment in doctor's offices is OntarioMD. This agency requires McMaster University to audit the various OSCAR support provider (OSP) companies and their clients to ensure that requisite security, support and convenience standards are up to OntarioMD specification, prior to funding being approved.
McMaster University charges OSP companies for this service and will offer a course for prospective OSPs helping them meet the grade. McMaster expects new and aspiring OSP companies entering the market to go through this course before they will sign off on their application for government funding for their clients in Ontario. McMaster can be contacted through their website www.oscarmcmaster.org. McMaster provides a listing of OSPs certified by them here, and their vetting and certification process for OSPs is described here.
This arrangement applies to Ontario only, not to other Canadian provinces. It is notable that over the last few years OSCAR has managed to establish itself in British Columbia as the third most installed EMR solution, complete with thriving support provider community, without any govt funding for OSCAR deployment or use in that province.
Regardless of funding and certification arrangements for the EMR, the ultimate accountability for medical record keeping standards always rests with the physician end-user.
Support Forums / Mailing Lists / User Groups
- The OSCAR community has a vibrant and active community, and you can get help with pretty much anything regarding OSCAR in the OSCAR email discussion lists. Get more information on the OSCAR email discussion lists.
- Want to connect with people who use OSCAR or CAISI? Do you run a local OSCAR user group that you want people to know about? Check out the OSCAR User Groups.