Informatics Update

Dr. Tom Appleton

In 2017, the ORA Informatics Committee set out to fill a need for Ontario Rheumatologists: the power to understand what is happening within our own Rheumatology practices by looking at our own EMR data, without being directed by someone else on how we should use it. There is a wealth of information in our EMRs that we could use to gain critical insights to our practice patterns, if we could only analyze quickly enough to be useful.

Point-of-care EMR data analytics will allow ORA members to identify areas of our practice that are doing so well that we can spend less time focusing on them, and other areas that need our attention. Analytics can also identify specific patients who are not meeting the high quality of care we set for ourselves, identify opportunities to make our practices more efficient, and help us improve outcomes for patients with rheumatic diseases.

Request for Technology Proposals

To achieve, this, we need a technology solution to process the data contained within our EMRs and feed it back to us quickly, so we can make decisions. The ORA Informatics Committee has developed a plan, created and ratified a Data Governance Framework, and progressed to a formal, public Request for Proposals (RFP) from technology vendors across Canada to help build a technology solution. The RFP closed on September 24, 2018 and will be followed by face to face interviews with tech companies before deciding how and with whom to progress to construction and implementation phases.

This project, called the ORA Rheumatic Diseases Evaluation Registry (ORDER) will help us in our day to day practice to understand our practices better. It will also help us better understand how we are caring for patients as a group of Ontario Rheumatologists. As we collect and analyze our own real-world practice data (RWD), there is an opportunity to de-identify and analyze aggregated RWD to inform our members as a group. ORA members will have the opportunity to choose how to participate in the ORDER project after it launches in 2019. Opportunities include data analytics at our own practice level, the province level, and/or in ORA member-led research with Ontario-specific RWD.

We Need Your Expertise

We are calling on ORA members with interests in quality improvement to join the ORA Informatics Committee to help us define the first set of Quality Indicators for the ORDER project. These indicators will be built into the ORDER technology solution so that we can use them at the point of care to understand our patients, our practices, and our collective achievements as a group of over 200 Rheumatologists in Ontario. If you would like to be involved in any areas of the ORDER project, please contact the ORA directly at

As with all ORA works, the ORDER project is an ORA member-driven initiative. We invite and greatly appreciate the feedback of all ORA members. Please send us your thoughts and ideas.

Dr. Tom Appleton

Chair, Informatics Committee