Healthcare IT system suppliers INPS and EMIS have announced that they have formed a 50:50 joint venture to implement an interoperability gateway.

A new company, Healthcare Gateway, has been set up to implement the two suppliers’ Medical Interoperability Gateway (MIG).

This has been designed to enable data sharing between GP systems and with other providers such as hospitals, community units and social care.

INPS and EMIS, which between them provide software to about 75% of UK GP practices, said secure data exchange via the MIG could be used to view detailed patient records, exchange electronic discharge summaries and clinical documents, enable chronic disease and medication record views and enable exchange of child health information such as immunisation data.

The suppliers said the development of the gateway had been driven by demand from the NHS and other healthcare providers. They argued that the need for wider access to GP records was central to plans to deliver more NHS services in the community.

Max Brighton, INPS managing director, said: “In these times of austerity we have a responsibility to offer solutions that help clinicians to provide their patients with high quality services and at the same time improve efficiencies within the NHS. “

In an interview with EHI Primary Care last week, Brighton said hospital trusts and primary care trusts were showing a lot of interest in the ability of the MIG to enable two way data sharing with GP systems.

He said the plan was to enable as many third party suppliers as possible to also connect to the MIG. “The total cost of implementation would be a fraction of the cost of having an LSP system – and I mean a fraction," he claimed.

Brighton said the new joint venture was currently narrowing down its first pilots and hoped that its first implementation would go live in Quarter 3 this year.

Sean Riddell, chief executive officer of EMIS, said: “Our partnership with INPS is a landmark collaboration between two leading suppliers that has the potential to deliver more efficient services and improved care for 75% of the population.”

• A full interview with INPS on its future plans and strategy will appear on EHI Primary Care next week.