OntarioMD uses Office 365 and Azure Websites to Launch Their Public Website

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The Client

OntarioMD is a government funded not for profit organization responsible for driving adoption of Electronic Medical Record systems by physicians in the province of Ontario, Canada. Over 14,000 physicians are enrolled in its programs. OntarioMD has a proven track record of developing and implementing award-winning connectivity to EMRs in its Hospital Report Manager (HRM) and eNotifications applications that enhance the value of certified EMRs. While OntarioMD is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Ontario Medical Association, it receives funding from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care.

The Challenge

Envision IT was awarded an RFP in 2016 to implement and host a new corporate website and portal platform for OntarioMD. They had already made the decision to decommission the existing Oracle-based infrastructure and platform, and were looking to introduce a cloud-based solution. They were exploring ways to reduce the costs of current infrastructure hosting and ongoing operational costs. They also wanted a website that would be easy to maintain and keep current with fresh content. At the same time, they wanted to ensure a seamless migration of content, functionality, and users to the new platform.

The Solution

Already an Office 365 customer, the vision was to leverage SharePoint Online as a content authoring platform for their new public website. A fully branded, responsive version of their new site was built in SharePoint, complete with publishing approval workflows. The formerly static site was difficult and time consuming for content authors to maintain and update. This was resolved with the implementation of content rollups throughout the site. Updates to lists and libraries now result in content being automatically pushed through to the appropriate pages, resulting in a much more dynamic site.

The site is then published out to an Azure App Service ASP.NET website. This greatly simplifies the ongoing management of the solution, and provides a highly available public website at a very cost effective price. The publishing approval process was extended to publish content updates in real time to the ASP.NET website. Azure search was used to provide a rich search experience on the Azure website.

In addition to the public portion of the website, the new solution also incorporates Envision IT's Extranet User Manager product. This allows physicians and their staff to securely register and authenticate to the Azure website. It also provides single sign-on to related applications such as OntarioMD's Health Card Validation application. Read more about this on the Extranet User Manager website at the OntarioMD uses Extranet User Manager and Azure websites to launch their public website case study page.

The diagram below illustrates the content flow through the solution. Web content (including documents and pages) are authored or uploaded into the SharePoint Online site. When marked as published, these are copied over to an Azure website where they are available to the site visitors. Depending on permissions set on the Azure website, this content may be available anonymously, or just to certain groups' members.

Content Flow

The Results

The result is a highly scalable and available website hosted in Azure at a fraction of the cost of what it would be to host a public facing SharePoint farm in Azure. Support and maintenance of the site are also greatly simplified, as Microsoft manages the Azure website infrastructure. Content authors who are already familiar with SharePoint and Office 365 continue to use a familiar experience to maintain their content. The 15,000+ registered physicians and staff get access to their content and apps through a responsive, visually appealing website. Envision IT provided content migration of the existing content and training of the communications and business teams that will be authoring the site. The recently launched site can be viewed at www.ontariomd.ca.

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