NHS Wales has announced an agreement with four healthcare IT suppliers to deliver the Individual Health Record across the country.

Out-of-hours IT system supplier Adastra and GP system suppliers EMIS, iSoft and INPS have all signed an agreement to provide the technical solution that will make the IHR widely available.

The IHR is the Welsh equivalent of England’s Summary Care Record and Scotland’s Emergency Care Summary, but access is limited to individual health boards.

The IHR contains information on medications, allergies, adverse reactions, current problems and diagnoses, and test results, and can only be viewed in out-of-hours services with patient consent.

Last year, Wales announced that it planned to reach agreements with GP system suppliers to provide proprietary versions of the IHR, based on a standard data extraction model and a common user interface.

INPS was the first GP supplier to sign up. This week, a spokesperson for the NHS Welsh Informatics Service told EHI Primary Care that 19 GP practices are taking part in the first IHR project in Pembrokeshire; linking to Adastra’s out-of-hours system via their INPS Vision systems.

The NHS Wales Informatics Service said the IHR would help health professionals to make decisions based on knowledge of the patient’s medical history, improving the safety and quality of care.

Patient information leaflets are to be delivered across Wales to tell patients when the IHR will be available and to give them the option to opt-out.

The spokesperson said patients in Cwm Taf and Cardiff have received leaflets in advance of a further INPS deployment later this year.

Leaflets are being delivered in Gwynedd and Anglesey ready for the start of an EMIS-based early adopter scheme that is due to begin in December. An iSoft early adopter scheme is planned for May next year.

ISoft said its solution combined extensions to its primary care practice systems its integration technology and EHR functionality.

It said the solution would form the core of iSoft’s offering to integrated care organisations looking to connect primary and secondary care providers across organisational boundaries.

Adrian Stevens, iSoft’s managing director, added: “The solution exemplifies iSoft’s Smart Solutions approach, in which new technologies and existing functionality are combined to deliver value-for-money solutions that can be quickly installed and rolled-out.”

ISoft said it has also been contracted to enable its GP systems to use the Welsh Clinical Communications Gateway, an e-referrals system based on Scotland’s SCI Gateway.

EMIS said in its case the data-sharing for the IHR would be facilitated by introducing real-time streaming of patient information from each of its practices into EMIS Web.

Sean Riddell, chief executive of EMIS, said: “The Individual Health Record is a fantastic example of how collaboration between different suppliers – and a commitment to interoperability between their systems – can improve healthcare.”