Healthcare IT system supplier INPS has announced that it expects to extend its user base to more than 2,500 live GP practices by the second half of the year.

The company, which supplies its Vision 3 system to practices in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as England, says its customer base grew for the 11th consecutive year in 2010.

A number of local health communities also began using its data hub Vision 360.

INPS’s eventual aim is to seek NHS Connecting for Health accreditation for Vision 360 as a GP system.

However, while this is still planned, INPS anticipates that practices will start to use Vision 360 in multiple practices/consortia later this year.

In INPS spokesperson told EHI Primary Care that the short term goal was to meet the information requirements of the new organisations.

They said that in the longer term there would be a gradual move towards Vision 360 as a GP system, rather than a step change.

Services offered by the data repository include Vision 360 Patient Summary, providing access to medical records away from the registered practice, which is already live in some communities.

New functionality will allow clinical information to be entered across care settings, cross-practice reporting and appointment bookings across care settings.

Max Brighton, managing director of INPS, said GP practices that used Vision were particularly well placed for information sharing because of the quality of their data.

He added: “All information recorded in Vision is structured, everything is clinically coded and available for searches and reporting.

"Critical business and clinical decisions based on this information can be made with confidence and conviction, time after time.”

INPS said it had also launched Vision Online Services. This is a two year project that includes the development of six modules to provide a range of services to allow the patient to interact with their own record and the practice.

The web-based appointments module is already available and INPS said the repeat prescription service is due in the summer. The release of access to records has yet to be scheduled.

The company is also involved in a joint venture with IT supplier EMIS to enable sharing information across multiple systems via their Medical Interoperability Gateway.

This week INPS said the venture, delivered through company Healthcare Gateway, was part way through implementation to its first customer and the service was due to go live in four weeks.