Getting Started with eForms

Learn how to browse through our core eForm library or the shared eForm library for a starting point for the Ocean eForms that you would like to use in your clinic.

    • To get started, Login to the Ocean Portal. Click the "Menu" button in the top left corner and select "eForms".
    • From here, you can search for existing eForms, edit them to your liking, and/or create new eForms from scratch.
  • The Core Ocean eForm Library

    • Use the search bar to search through our extensive core library of Ocean eForms. You can download a spreadsheet with the full list of forms available to your site by selecting "Export All Forms Accessible to This Site" from the "More" menu. To preview some of our favourite forms, please visit our eForms product page.
    • Once you've found a form that you want to use, you can edit it to your liking by clicking on the form title and selecting "Edit". Once you've edited a form, its title will appear in blue (rather than the default black).
  • The Shared Ocean eForm Library

    • If you cannot find the form that you're looking for, you can view the shared library of Ocean eForms that contains all forms that our Ocean users have created.
    • You can access this more extensive library of forms by selecting "View Shared Forms" from the "More" menu.
    • If you find a form that you'd like to use, click on its title and the click on the "Import" button to make it available to your site.
    • Imported forms can be edited (to customize it for your site), severed from the source site (if you want to make edits to the form, independent of its original source) and can also be synced with the form in the source site (if you'd like to capture any updates the the source site has made to the form).
  • Creating New Ocean eForms

    • If you still can't find the form you're looking for, you are welcome to create a new form from scratch by selecting the "Create New Form" button and then following the steps in "Creating a New Ocean eForm".

Creating a New Ocean eForm

If you can't find an eForm that suits your needs in our library, you can go ahead and create a new Ocean eForm.

Follow the steps below to create a new Ocean eForm.

  • Select "Create New Form". You will be asked to agree to the licence terms. Select "I Agree" to continue.
  • Name your form. (This will open the eForm editor window.)
  • Choose either "Add Item" or "Add Section" to get started.
  • Add Item
    A single question.
    Add Section
    A group of related items or questions that include a header. Sections are used to visually define and separate areas on a form. When building a multi-page form, Sections are used to define a page.
  • When you've added an item, you will be see a series of tabs along the right side of the eForm Editor: General, Note Formatting, and Scripting and More.

Guide to the eForm Editor - Add Item

Learn about the various features of each tab that appears when you add a new item to your eForm.

When you select Add Item, you will see a menu similar to the one displayed in the screenshot below.

The basic options include: General tab, Note Formatting tab, and Scripting and More tab.

General Tab Note Formatting Tab Scripting and More Tab Menu / Scale Choices Tab
  • The General tab is used to select the type of question or item you are adding and to update the text or question. It includes two fields
Where you type in the question / question label.
This drop-down menu provides you with a list of possible question format options.

Ocean provides a wide range of question types and items that can be added to a form. For a full list of available item types, please refer to: "eForm Item Types".

Guide to the eForm Editor - Add Section

Learn about the various features of each tab that appears when you add a new section to your eForm.

When you add a section, the menu options are similar those in the Add Item menu. In this article, we explain the key differences between the "Add Item" and "Add Section" options.

General Tab Note Formatting Tab Scripting and More Tab
  • The General tab provides the following two options:
Allows you to enter a heading or label that will appear at the top of the section. Section headers appear in a larger, bolded font and can be used to clearly differentiate sections on a form page or to act as a page header (when using the multi-page form option).
Section style
Allows you to change the background color to white or grey. You also have the option of adding a border.

eForm Item Types

There are various question types that you can add to your Ocean eForm, each of which are listed and described in this article.

Below you will find the full list of item types available in the eForm Editor that you can choose from to add to your Ocean eForms.

Item Type Description


No/Yes/Not Sure

Shows the caption plus yes/no/not sure buttons.
[√] Checkbox

A simple checkbox that is good for a lists of symptoms, for example.

Tip: use a "No/Yes"-type item if you need to distinguish “no” from “unchecked”.

Text Field

Text Field (Numeric Only)

Text Area

Text responses. Minimize use on tablets as much as possible. “Text area” allows multi-line responses.


Menu Allowing Multiple Selections

Drop-down menu or collection of buttons. Use the “choices” tab to add menu choices.
Label For any read-only text. Good for instructions, consent form text, etc.
Date Shows a calendar control.

Approximate Date

Approximate Duration

Presents menu of suitable choices. Adjust the units to choose from using the "Minimum Acuity" dropdown.
Numeric Scale Can be used for simple numeric scales, visual/analog scales, Likert scales, etc. More on this next.
Picture Displays an image file. You can upload the image in the editor.
Video Displays a video file. You can upload the video by entering the video key.
Formula A special item that calculates an expression to generate a number or string. Used for scores, generating hyperlinks in generated notes, etc. More details can be found in "Scripting & More Tab - Formula".


Creating a Diagram in an eForm

Learn how to create a special type of item that allows patients to select certain points on a picture (e.g. Body Pain Diagram).

Diagrams can be useful tools for patients to demonstrate where they are perceiving discomfort. The Body Pain Diagram is a great eForm for this purpose, but you can also customize your own diagram. This article describes how to create your own diagram.

  1. Add a "Diagram" item.

    • Open your eForm in the eForm editor.
    • Click the blue plus (+) sign and select "Diagram".
    • Rename your diagram and choose a picture background for your diagram.
  2. Add "Labels" to your diagram.

    • Once you've uploaded your picture, you can add labels at various locations on the diagram. You can do this by clicking "Add Item".
    • Move the 'X' to the appropriate spot on the background picture and label it using the "Caption" field.
    • Continue adding items until you're happy with all your diagram's labels.
    • Save your eForm and your diagram will be ready for use!

Adding a Hyperlink in an eForm

Learn how to add a hyperlink to your eForm, if you want to direct the patient to other helpful resources on the web.

You can add a hyperlink to an eForm using the "Label" item type.

  • Add a new item to your eForm and change the "Type" to "Label".
  • Navigate to the "Scripting and More" tab to edit your hyperlink settings.
  • Add the word(s) that you would like to be hyperlinked in the top "caption" field, and type in the full URL that you wish to link to in the bottom "url" field.
  • Once your hyperlink has been added, it will appear to patients on your eForm as a clickable button.

Multi-Page eForms

Learn how to configure a long eForm to be split up into several, more digestible pages for the patient to go through.

eForms are often long and complicated, which can be overwhelming for patients. To prevent this, you may wish to break your eForm up into separate eForms and link them together in a favourites group, through eForm Actions, or using tablet rules.

Sometimes, it may be easier to just show a small set of questions on separate pages, mimicking the presentation of multiple eForms - i.e. multi-page support in the Ocean eForm Editor. Multi-page eForms will appear as multiple forms to patients, while generating a single encounter note in your EMR.

Enabling the Multi-Page eForms Feature

Follow the steps below to to structure your form so that each of your eForm sections appears as a new page to the patient.

  • From the eForm Editor, open up the Action menu at the top right and select "Form Properties...".
  • From the General tab, click the checkbox labelled "Display Top-Level Sections as Separate Page".
  • Selecting this checkbox tells Ocean to present the top-level of sections as discrete pages.

Now, the form will look more or less the same in the eForm Editor, making it easier to edit. Just treat top-level sections in your eForm as new pages. Later, when you preview or load the form on a tablet, you will see these sections shown as discrete pages.

For example, check out the 2015 version of the Health Quality Ontario patient experience survey.

The Action Menu

The Action menu of the eForm Editor contains several interesting features, including eForm Properties and eForm Actions.

eForm Properties will allow you to do a variety of things, including adding references, enabling form memory, controlling your eForm visibility in the shared Ocean library, and much more.

eForm Actions will allow you to show the patient another form, based on an answer to your current form.

  • The Action menu of the eForm Editor allows you to control some more advanced features of Ocean eForms. You can access this action menu in the top right corner of the eForm Editor. This article will cover eForm Properties and eForm Actions.
eForm Properties eForm Actions

The Form Properties menu includes 3 tabbed sections: General, Form Memory & Data Storage, and Sharing & Licensing.

  • General Tab

    • Display Top-Level Sections as Separate Pages
      Allows you to split a form into separate pages. When selected, each new "top level" section will automatically create a new page (sections created within sections do not generate pages).
      Short Title
      Creates a short title for your form for easier searching in the eForm library.
      Allows you to set keywords for easier searching from the Forms tab in the Ocean Portal or within the custom form (for some integrated EMRs).
      Allows you to add references to your form with links to related URLs.
  • Form Memory & Data Storage Tab

    • Form Memory
      Allows Ocean to remember that a patient completed a form. For more information about Form Memory, please refer to "Form Memory - Storing Form Values for Patients in Ocean".
      Save the form answers as
      Allows you to determine whether form answers should be saved as a clinical note, study data, or both.
      Percent Complete Expression
      Allows forms submitted with a calculated Percent Complete less than 100 to remain in the patient queue.
  • Sharing & Licensing Tab

    • List in directory
      We promote sharing of eForms across sites. If you do not want to your form to be visible to other Ocean users, select this checkbox.
      Cost per use
      Allows you to charge a fee for the use of site forms that you develop. Ocean will automatically calculate the processing fee and the amount received after the cost per use is entered. Custom licensing terms can be entered in the Custom Licence text box.

Helpful eForm & Note Formatting Tips

Learn some tricks and tips on how to make your eForm and resultant clinical note more readable and easier to interact with.

eForm formatting can be useful to make your Ocean eForms and Ocean-generated clinical notes easier for the reader to efficiently interpret. The following describes a few methods you can use to format your eForms and the generated clinical notes.

Use HTML to apply formatting styles

In the eForm editor, you can use simple HTML tags in captions to make parts of the clinical note that is generated from your eForm either bold, underlined or italicized.

For Example:
This <b>word</b> will appear bold, these <i>two words</i> will appear italicized and these <u>last words</u> will appear underlined.

The above will appear in the clinical note in your EMR as:

This word will appear bold, these two words will appear italicized and these last words will appear underlined

Create a title in the clinical note

If you would like to add a title to the top of your clinical note, follow these steps:

  1. Open your form in the eForm Editor.
  2. Click "Add item", and drag the item to the top of the eForm, above all the other text.
  3. In the "Caption" field, type the title you would like to appear at the top of your clincal note with simple HTML tags. For "Type", select "Label".
    For Example:
    • <b><u>Preventative Care Visit</u></b><br>
    • The <b></b> tags make the title bold.
    • The <u></u> tags make the title underlined.
    • The <br> tag adds a line break after the title.
  4. In the "Note Formatting" tab, find the "Create a note for this item" option and select "always" from the dropdown menu.
  5. In the "Scripting and More" tab, enter the value of "false" into the "Show this field if" input box. This will disable the title from being visible to the patient and only visible to the clinician reviewing the note.

Show an item's value in a caption or custom note

In order to access an item's value in the caption or custom note field you can add the special string "$$". This is particularly useful when using formula fields. If you would like to display the resulting formula so that the patient can also see it you can add a caption such as "Score: $$" to the "Caption" field. If you would like to add a custom note to an item you can also use "$$" tag in the "Custom Note" field.

Include messages or simple text as labels

Add item(s) in your eForms as "Labels" for messages, such as instructions or consent information (as opposed to section captions, which are bolded automatically and can be overwhelming to read through).

Add blank space(s) between question items within forms

Add a Blank Line Item

  • If you just want to insert a blank line within the clinical note, the eForm Editor has a quick and easy way to do this: simply add in a "Blank Line" item from the dropdown menu under the blue plus (+) sign (next to "Add Section").

Add White Space to an Item

Alternatively, you can format a custom note in order to put additional white space before or after an item. To do so:

  1. Open your form in the eForm Editor.
  2. Click on the item that you want to surround with white space.
  3. To insert a blank line before the item, copy and paste the item caption (from the General tab) into the "Custom Note" field (in the Note Formatting tab).
    • Move your cursor to the beginning of the text in the "Custom Note" field and tap the "Enter" key on your keyboard to add a blank line before the caption text.
  4. To insert a blank line after the section, copy and paste the item caption (from the General tab) in the "Custom Note" field (in the Note Formatting tab).
    • Move your cursor to the end of the text in the "Custom Note" field and tap the "Enter" key on your keyboard to add a blank line after the text.

Other Customizations

There are many customizable formatting options for the Ocean-generated clinical note possible. These include changing the colour, order, spacing, etc. of eForm answers in the clinical note. These changes can be configured in the Note Formatting tab of the eForm Editor. For more on this, please refer to "Note Formatting Tab" in: "Guide to the eForm Editor - Add Item".

Formatting Clinical Notes that Appear with Completed eForms or Sections

Learn some more tricks and tips on how to make your Ocean-generated clinical notes easier for your staff to consume.

Formatting Before and After Entire eForms

Note: This formatting is only really useful for PS Suite or OSCAR users.

You can set up Ocean to add default text or spacing before or after all clinical notes generated by completed eForm at your site, or in between individual eForm notes.

  • To do this, log in to the Ocean Portal. Click the "Menu" button in the top left corner and select "eForms". and enter the Note Formatting section (selected from the menu along the left).
Note Prefix
This text is inserted at the start of the patient's Ocean-generated notes.
To have a tag that appears before an Ocean-generated note, you can enter something like:
@OceanNote: Completed
Note Delimiter
This text is inserted in between individual eForm notes, applicable when two or more eForms have been completed back-to-back for a single patient.
To insert a blank line between eForm notes, enter a blank line:
Note Suffix
This text is inserted at the end of the patient's Ocean-generated notes.
To have a tag that appears after an Ocean-generated note, you can enter something like:
(note created using Ocean)

Formatting Before and After eForm Sections

Within an individual eForm, you may want to put additional white space before or after a section note.

To do so, open up your form in the eForm Editor, click on the section, and enter the Note Formatting tab.

  • To insert a blank line before the section, insert a blank line before the section header in the "Custom Note" field.
  • To insert a blank line after the section, type $$ in the "Custom Note" field, then a blank line afterward (tap Enter on your keyboard twice).

Note: $$ is a special tag in Ocean that represents the embedded note of the section. It will be replaced by whatever the patient answered on the form.

Translating an eForm into Another Language(s)

Learn how to translate your form into different languages.

  • Before you translate a form, double-check to make sure it hasn't already been translated by another site. To do this, enter the eForms view in the Ocean portal, select "More", click "View Shared Forms", and search the list for the form.

eForms can be translated in the eForm Editor by following the steps below.

  1. Add your desired language.

    • Open your form in the eForm editor.
    • From the Action menu at the top right, select "Internationalize".
  2. Add string translations.

    • Once the form is internationalized, go back into the Action menu and choose "String Translations...". The dialog provides one line per string for translation under the "Text" column, with the default translation as "FR: {original English string}". Simply replace these strings (including the "FR:" part) with the correct translations (see screenshot below) and save the form by clicking "OK".
  3. Test your translations.

Keyboard shortcuts in the eForm Editor

Learn a handful of useful keyboard shortcuts that can be utilized in the eForm Editor.

There a handful of useful keyboard shortcuts that can be utilized in the eForm Editor. Below is a list of key combinations that are available to shortcut various actions.

Note: For Mac users, the ⌘ Command key can alternatively be used in place of the Control key, if so desired.

Key Combination Action
control + alt + c Copy the selected item or section
control + alt + x Cut the selected item or section
control + alt + v Paste the copied or cut item or section
control + shift + a Add a new section
control + alt + a Add a new item
control + s Save changes

How to render an eForm note in a “consult letter”-style format

By default, the Ocean eForm Editor will render patient results in a format similar to this example:

Name John Smith
Age 40
Gender male

There may be instances where clinic staff or physicians would prefer the resulting note to read more like a consult letter in a series of sentences and paragraphs.

In this situation, the resulting Ocean notes can be configured to render in this manner through a combination of Custom Notes and note formatting settings.

  • Create A New Section Item

    • In the Ocean eForm Editor, create a new section item.
    • With the section selected, open the “Note Formatting” tab
    • Check the box next to the field labelled “Separate list items in the note using:
    • In the dropdown the appears, select “(space)
    • Create applicable form items within the section
  • Edit Each Form Item

    • Select each individual form item and open the “Note Formatting” tab
    • Under the “Show the note for this item:” field, check off the box labelled “on the same line as other notes

With this configuration, notes will group together across a single line of text. The immediate result would appear like this in the note:

Name John SmithAge 40Gender male

To make this note more human readable, we can employ the use of Custom Notes to provide sentence structure to our form items.

  • Write a Custom Note

    • Select the applicable form item and open the “Note Formatting” tab
    • Check off the box next to “Custom Note” and enter text
    • Note: The content written in the custom note area will only be visible in the final encounter note and will not be visible to the patient completing the form.

In the following example, the words enclosed in square brackets correspond to text (and space characters) entered into the Custom Note box for each of the three example fields to make the resulting note read more like a sentence:

[The patient's name is ]John Smith[, a ]40[ year old ]male

Through this method, you can string together a series of sections and form items to display long-form content utilizing the results of patient responses.

The final version, as it will appear in the note preview and EMR, will look like this:

The patient's name is John Smith, a 40 year old male