The BMJ Group has entered the primary care software market with the acquisition of Informatica Systems Ltd, a UK firm that provides performance management systems for GPs.

The move positions the BMJ Group to provide information services and tools to GPs and GP consortia as they take responsibility for both delivering and commissioning NHS care.

Informatica Systems is best known for its FrontDesk automated GP appointment system, but also specialises in clinical decision support systems for doctors.

As well as FrontDesk the firm has developed Contract+, which helps GPs to monitor performance against the NHS Quality and Outcomes Framework.

Informatica also provides Audit+, a centralised performance tracking system for GP practices working within consortia and commissioning organisations. The system is in NHS Wales for data quality measurement.

Described as a clinical navigation system, Audit+ enables individual practice performance to be tracked and embeds NICE guidelines, providing decision support prompts to clinicians.

In a statement BMJ Group said the deal would strengthen its ability “to support GPs as they adapt to changes in the NHS and complements the Group’s existing portfolio of evidence-based products.

Stella Dutton, CEO of the BMJ Group said: “This acquisition confirms the Group’s strategy of supporting clinicians with tools to improve performance and provide better outcomes for patients. It also enables the BMJ Group to help doctors in the newly formed GP consortia cope effectively with the challenges of taking both clinical and financial responsibility for patient care.”

Philip Brown, founder of Informatica Systems, said that linking up with the BMJ would provide additional financial, marketing and technical clout. “We chose the BMJ Group because of its ethical source as a trusted source of information for doctors and its powerful brand recognition throughout the NHS.”

BMJ Group, best known as publisher of the British Medical Journal, is wholly owned by the British Medical Association, though run independently of the BMA.

The value of the deal was not disclosed, but the BMJ press release said that Informatica Systems has a turnover of “approaching £3m”.