An independent third party should be set up to help accredit third party suppliers to interface with principal GP IT systems, an Intellect Health and Social Care Council member says.

Ewan Davis, who is also founder of the Healthcare App Network for Development and Innovation, has been attending market engagement events held by Intellect and the Department of Health to discuss the new GP Systems of Choice contract.

Procurement documents on the Connecting for Health website say the GPSoC tender is due to go out at the end of this month, with contracts awarded between October and December.

A key part of the new contract is the Interface Service, which will require all major GP IT suppliers to open their Application Programme Interfaces to subsidiary suppliers.

In a blog about the meetings, Davis said the procurement was going well, but argued there was a need to, “radically change the proposed accreditation process for subsidiary products to remove it from the hands of principal system suppliers and place it in the hands of a trusted third party”.

Davis said HANDI members were very interested in interfacing new apps with GP suppliers, particularly those involving records access.

However, there was concern about principal suppliers continuing to play a central role in the accreditation process, due to inevitable conflicts of interest when a subsidiary product competed with the core system’s functionality.

Davis raised the idea of a third party being involved in the accreditation process at a market meeting earlier this month and the idea was progressed at another meeting this week.

In this scenario, core system suppliers would be required to provide copies of their system to a third party to create the test and accreditation platforms needed to test a subsidiary product.

The principal supplier would still do the formal accreditation, but would only be involved at the end of the process, rather than from the beginning.

“There was broad agreement that a third party had a useful role to play and recognition that because the expertise rests with the principal system suppliers they can’t be taken entirely out of the equation,” Davis told EHI.

Under the new contract, GP system suppliers would initially make their existing APIs available, but over time would move towards standard interfaces across all systems.

One this was in place, the third party could fully control the accreditation process, Davis believed.

The documents on CfH’s website reveal that the new GPSoC contract will be in three lots. ‘GP clinical IT systems and modules’ will be centrally funded, while ‘additional GP IT services’ and ‘cross care setting interoperable services’ will be funded locally.