two physicians sharing a tablet

What is eReferral?

Electronic Referral (eReferral) simplifies the referral process by enhancing communication between primary care providers and specialists/organizations and enabling quick and secure referrals to be sent and received through an electronic platform. eReferral is available to clinicians as part of the Ontario eServices Program.eServices green logo

The Ontario eServices Program delivers digital services (eConsult and eReferral) that support clinical workflows and facilitate smoother transitions in care and an improved patient experience. To learn more about how the eServices Program manages eConsult and eReferral, please visit the website. The Ontario eServices Program is co-managed by the Ontario eConsult Centre of Excellence and the eHealth Centre of Excellence and is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health.

Who benefits from eReferral?

Clinicians, both senders and receivers, as well as patients benefit from the use of eReferral. The following are some of the key benefits of using eReferral: 

Senders (Primary Care Providers)

  • Ability to integrate with three of the most common EMRs (TELUS PS Suite® EMR, Accuro® EMR and OSCAR EMRs), so you can send referrals quickly and directly
  • Updated standardized referral forms are automatically pre-populated with information from your EMR
  • Updated referral status updates within your EMR
  • See a map-based directory of available services and programs, complete with wait times, where available
  • Reduced administrative tasks, such as the need to make follow-up phone calls

Receivers (Specialists)

  • Customized eReferral forms ensure that you receive complete referrals, eliminating the need to request additional information from the referrer
  • eReferral forms include integrated clinical guidelines to support best practices, e.g., when it’s clinically appropriate to request an X-ray versus MRI
  • Administrative tasks are lessened, such as the need to make follow-up phone calls


  • Patients can choose to receive email notifications with referral status so they can track their referral from start to completion
  • They can receive appointment instructions via email (i.e., do not eat two hours prior to appointment)
  • Patients can confirm appointments directly from the email notifications

eReferral Aids

Sending an eReferral from your EMR:

Receiving an eReferral in your EMR:

Please note when viewing the videos above, you can expand the information section below the video. This will display a listing of all major areas covered in the video, along with linked timestamps which will take you to that specific section of the video.

eReferral FAQ

What is an eReferral?

Electronic referral (or eReferral) is the secure and effective transfer of patient information from one point-of-care client management system into another, via an electronic, web-based platform, for the purpose of referrals. This electronic referral system is meant to replace fax based referrals.

It is also available to any physician that uses a paper-based client management system, as the web-based platform can be used independent of a digital based system. The web-based platform selected for the SE Region is a software product called Ocean. This electronic referral system is meant to replace fax based referrals.

Ocean eReferral simplifies the referral process by enhancing communication between clinicians, allowing primary care providers to quickly search, find, and send referrals electronically.

Ocean eReferral is integrated with select Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) and standardized referral forms are updated automatically with pre-populated information from those EMRs.

Ocean eReferral is also connected with the patient, as patients can choose to receive email notifications with referral status and appointment details. Patients can also confirm appointments directly from the email notification.

As of Fall 2020 and onwards, Ocean eReferral is being deployed in areas of the province, including the South East Region. Any organization that wants to send or receive eReferrals is supported by a regional deployment team for onboarding. 

Does eReferral have integration with EMRs?

Ocean eReferral has direct integration with many of the electronic medical record systems (EMRs) in use in our region (Telus PS, Accuro and OSCAR Pro/Well EMR). Non-EMR users can also easily access all functionality of the Ocean eReferral through a web-portal that can be accessed with any web browser.

Does it take a lot of work to setup Ocean eReferral?

No, the Ocean eReferral team will work with your office to handle the setup and training of all staff. All steps including training and setup will currently be done virtually. The system is very intuitive and easy to use - once staff have sent one or two eReferrals, they are normally quite comfortable with the process. The amount of training required to utilize the product is minimal. Ongoing support is included as part of coming on to Ocean eReferral. 

How do I get started with eReferral?

Please contact eReferral Change Management Specialist Ryland Steel at 343-306-4573.

How much does it cost?

There is no cost for referring providers or referral receivers who are part of the Ontario eServices Program. Ocean user accounts and training are also available at no cost.

Who do I go to for support when using eReferral?

The program is funded to provide local change management resources to support your implementation, training, adoption, and sustained use. For assistance, please contact eReferral Change Management Specialist Ryland Steel at 343-306-4573.

Who else is using eReferral in the South East?

All the referral destinations that are currently accepting eReferrals through Ocean are available through this document.

Who is eligible to join eReferral?

All primary care clinicians and specialists across Ontario are eligible to participate in the Ontario eServices Program.