Primary care software supplier Emis has announced an upgrade of its online messaging system, Emis Access, which it says is now four times faster and more user friendly.

The Emis Access system is used by more than 1,600 Emis practices and 150,000 patients with an average of 45,000 appointments booked online each month and 86,000 repeat prescriptions ordered.

In addition to appointment booking and prescription ordering, Emis Access enables patients to send secure messages to their surgery, update their personal details and view their medical records.

Emis said an increasing number of patients were accessing the service via digital TV and mobile phones.

Managing director Sean Riddell said Emis Access was a flagship service used by more than one in ten GP practices in the UK. “With such high user numbers we felt the time for a comprehensive upgrade," he said.

"We have significantly improved the underlying architecture of the site so that it is faster and more robust during periods of peak use. We have also freshened up the page layout and made it easier to use. Both practices and patients are already telling us that they can see the benefits.”

The upgraded service is now available to 90% of current Emis Access users and the company said it would be rolled out to the remainder in the next few weeks.