PCR Fact Sheet

Provincial Client Registry


The Provincial Client Registry (PCR) is the authoritative source of patient identity information. Its purpose is to facilitate the unique and accurate identification of patients across the continuum of care, and to improve the quality of patient identification data at any location where a health service is offered. 


The PCR uniquely identifies a patient by providing their most-up-to date demographic and identifier data across registration records received from health care data sources. The PCR includes the functionality of an Enterprise Master Patient Index (EMPI) to link these records and provide a single composite patient identity view to support client identification across Ontario’s EHR.


The registry receives patient demographic and identifier data from multiple sources, including the Ministry of Health (MOH) Registered Persons DataBase (RPDB), over 170 hospital sites tracking patient Admissions, Discharges, and Transfers (ADTs), and other systems such as Cancer Care Ontario’s (CCO) Wait Times Information System (WTIS) and Cardiac Care Network (CCN) applications. It is queried by health care solutions to uniquely identify a patient and return their latest demographics and identifiers.


PCR Data-In:

  • Adopters sending patient information to the PCR play a key role in establishing the longitudinal electronic health record made possible by a provincial, composite patient identity view that includes the most up-to-date demographics and all patient identifiers.
  • Contributing to the PCR provides value to data sources from a data quality perspective, since it flags problematic records in source systems. For example, it identifies:
    • Same-source duplicates (i.e. registering the same person more than once)
    • Patient chart overlays (likely in error) whereby the complete record appears to have significantly changed in error under a single update
    • Patient data overwrites (likely in error) where significant changes are identified over multiple updates
  • PCR-identified data quality issues are remediated by data sources in the source system and synchronized with PCR via the appropriate updates (e.g. demographic changes, merges, unmerges), driving continuing improvement on both sides.


PCR Data-Out:

  • Adopters can query the PCR based on:
    • demographics (e.g. first name, last name, date-of-birth) to identify a list of candidates in the absence of an identifier (e.g. Health Number or Medical Record Number), or
    • an identifier (e.g. Ontario Health Number, Out-of-Province Health Number, Medical Record Number, and PCR Enterprise ID (EID)) to return a single patient.
  • PCR will return the most-up-to-date patient information and/or the complete set of identifiers across all sources, for the patient.
  • Returned PCR demographics can be used to streamline registration processes and improve the currency and accuracy of local system patient demographic data (e.g. add or update patient scenarios) by reducing the time spent entering client information; for example, adopters consuming PCR data at the point-of-care can provide access to client demographic information where it does not exist today (e.g. identify clients not yet registered).
  • Identifying the client correctly at registration time (leveraging the broader probabilistic searching and matching capability of the PCR vs. local deterministic matching functionality) increases patient safety (e.g. reduction duplicate registrations, overlays and overwrites) and reduces the adopter effort required to manage source system data quality issues (e.g. reduction in the number of merges & unmerges).
  • Returned PCR identifiers can be used to retrieve additional information from the provincial EHR for the patient. Since all identifiers are linked in PCR, information contributed to the EHR from any source (e.g other health care solutions can be retrieved for the patient (e.g. query PCR to get the list of identifiers for the patient, and then use the ID(s) to retrieve lab records, drug information, diagnostic images, etc. for the individual).