Why is OSCAR free?
The no-cost, or low-cost, open source approach is intended to enlist a critical mass of health care users and developers, to use and enhance the OSCAR system on a ongoing basis. Any developments you make to OSCAR must be contributed back to the pool of OSCAR resources. To read more about how open source software functions, click here.

What is OSCAR’s objective?
Oscar’s objective is to offer a “royalty free” set of Clinic Applications and Clinic Resources for use by health care providers and clinics in Canada and everywhere.

How much will OSCAR cost?
Oscar is developed using open-source tools, which are free of royalties.
There is no purchase cost, no license fees, no update/upgrade fees, no user fees.
Users only pay for their own clinic’s hardware equipment, desired customizations and the support they need.

Who is OSCAR’s vendor?

  • OSCAR has no “vendor”. The term vendor implies a sale, yet OSCAR software cannot be sold. It has to be free. OSCAR’s strong open source license ensures that it will always remain so. OSCAR simply is the finest EMR software no money can buy.
  • McMaster university holds the strong open source license for the majority of the code base in the OSCAR McMaster trunk. This means that McMaster has copyright, and no one else may claim ownership of the project.
  • A growing number of independent commercial OSCAR support providers compete for the support business. These “OSPs” may levy fees for tech support, but none of them have rights to sell licenses to use OSCAR.

What is OSCAR’s licence?
OSCAR uses the GPL license, specifically version 2 (GPLv2).

Do I need to be a “techie” to use open source OSCAR?
No. OSCAR is VERY easy to use. Any computer (or smart phone) with a browser can securely connect to your OSCAR server installation, either locally or remotely. The interface is intuitive and very easy to learn. All functions of this fully featured EMR are at your fingertips.

Do I need to be a “techie” to install open source OSCAR?
Yes. You most certainly have to be a techie to set up and install an OSCAR EMR system. If you consider yourself techie and feel confident about configuring a fresh Linux Server, downloading and installing the OSCAR .deb package using these instructions, tweaking the MySQL database settings, sorting out teething issues, troubleshooting the external interfaces with lab and billing agencies, and you really do not wish to pay for support, then doing it yourself might seem tempting. There are a few technically savvy users out there who have chosen to do just that. However…think carefully before you elect to go it alone. You need to be fully aware of the implications regarding data integrity and security, and please don’t underestimate the extent of IT experience required. Inexperienced self-supporting users may be taking risks with their patients’ data and thus with professional liability. Doctors are trusted with their patient’s medical records, and this responsibility should be taken seriously.

Keep in mind though that you do want to practice due diligence in choosing and carefully vetting your support provider. Experience matters.

What companies provide support to OSCAR in ON, BC and elsewhere?
Here is our list of commercial OSCAR support providers. This is not a complete list of all OSPs out there. Our listing policy is appended to the list. New OSCAR support providers are entering the market frequently. Some are companies with IT experience in other areas, and they see OSCAR as an opportunity to help deploy and support EMR systems for doctors and other health care professionals. Some OSPs focus solely on OSCAR support.

How can I see a demo?
Some screenshots are posted on this site here. Some OSCAR support providers or developer groups provide demo sites, these are full OSCAR installations open for the public to explore. The best possible demo experience is to visit an actual working OSCAR user near you and see a living, breathing OSCAR system. Generally OSCAR users embrace the opportunity to show their EMR off to interested colleagues and help them make good choices.

Who should I contact if I am interested to learn more
Join our discussion group on the OSCAR mailing lists.

I am a programmer. How can I join the development team?

If you are programmer interest in getting involved you will find information to get you started here and here. You can find the bug tracking and feature request system here. You can also participate in the developer discussion list on Sourceforge.