EMIS has been “throttling” the install rate for EMIS Web, but is now preparing to hit the accelerator pedal, according to chief executive Sean Riddell.

In its preliminary results for 2011, released on Friday, the company said it was speeding up the roll-out rate of its next generation system to hit 200 practices a month in the final quarter of this year.

This would see the majority of the 1,400 practices on its order book completed in 2012.

Riddell told eHealth Insider the company had adopted a controlled roll-out approach towards the end of 2011, which meant “you have your foot on the brake."

“We have been throttling the install rate ,” he said. “The next stage is to satisfy the demand of your orders. We will be taking our foot off the brake and, through 2012, putting our foot on the accelerator pedal.”

Riddell said the acceleration was possible because lessons had been learned in the software roll-out and new technology and people introduced to the team.

Staff numbers reached 900 at the end of 2011, currently stand at about 950, and are likely to hit 1,000 by the end of the year.

He said the controlled roll-out phase had involved a lot of calls to the EMIS fault line. He said many of these had not been about software faults, but had often involved configuration issues.

EMIS has had a system of tracking the most common issues that people have been calling about. These have been used to improve documentation and make training videos, so mistakes were not repeated by others.

“Each week we look at the top support call,” Riddell explained. “The vast majority are nothing to do with software problems, they are to do with not really fully understanding how the software works. That’s then something we have to address through the online EMIS support centre.”

Customers can learn from each other via user groups and any new documentation goes into an EMIS Web Wiki.

“The idea of having a single integrated support centre is new. We introduced that really early this year and we’ve been redesigning and making it better and more flexible to respond to increased numbers of users,” Riddell added.

The December results showed overall revenue for EMIS Group increased by 18% between 2010 to 2011 from £61.9m to £73.2m.

The company’s market share of GP systems remained stable at about 53%, while the market share of RX systems – its pharmacy IT division – increased from 25% of pharmacies to 34%.

When asked to comment on the results overall, Riddell said: “What we have done is delivered what we promised. We outlined what the targets are for the year and delivered on it.”

Will Wallis, head of research at Numis Securities, said EMIS had grown its revenue well and generated a lot of cash.

“They have [been] getting through the problems that they are going to find in an EMIS Web roll-out, and put themselves in a position to be able to accelerate that rollout,” he said.

“If, for some reason, they can’t accelerate the roll-out that would have an impact on their ability to meet market expectations – given how much they have built up their cost base.”

He said EMIS had also made good progress with regards to its ability to win contracts in the integrated care market.