Emis and Ascribe have created a “sweet spots map” of common users to develop exemplars for their integrated care strategy.

Primary care systems supplier EMIS this month purchased clinical software supplier Ascribe for £57.5m.

Chris Spencer, chief executive of Emis Group, told EHI the companies are looking for an exemplar area to show what can be done when their health systems are fully integrated.

The companies have created a “sweet spot map” where Emis and Ascribe products are already widely used.

“We’re looking at areas and saying, ‘yes those are areas where we think we can and should work together’ and we’re now starting to talk to NHS organisations about getting them on board as well,” he said.

“Being a single business we have much more ability to control and influence priorities than as two entities."

NHS England released guidance in early July setting a target to achieve fully integrated digital care records across all care settings by 2018. It is also looking for exemplar areas to showcase the benefits of integrated care.

Spencer commented: “Absolutely and entirely our alignment plan is all about driving forwards alignment and integrated care, so it’s very exciting and delivers what we think is right for the NHS and patients and what the government would quite like to pay for.”

He said Ascribe will continue to operating largely autonomously, but with close links to Emis with regards to strategy and research and development.

“What we want to do is make sure the Ascribe brand is strong in the acute market place and mental health and make sure that expertise is retained within the business, but make sure we have that cross pollination with Emis businesses,” he explained.

Spencer said the companies have very similar culture sand the acquisition will not involve a major rationalisation of staff, instead he predicts that the number of Ascribe staff will increase.

“There will be some duplication of course: they have two sites in Bolton and may want to move into one and there are common structures across back office teams so maybe one or two people (will go),” he added.

Spencer told EHI the formal sale process has been in the pipeline for three to four months, but Emis has known Ascribe for years and “chatted to them throughout that period”.

Spencer said Emis decided to buy now because the Ascribe product set has been updated and its Health Application Platform allows its products to talk to each other and third party products.

Other drivers are the demise of the national programme for IT and the promised £1 billion government and NHS investment in health IT over coming years.

Ascribe also has an international presence with 18% of its revenue coming from Australasia. Emis already has a contract with the Ministry of Defence in Australia and will be looking for further opportunities as a joint business.

Spencer said details of what Ascribe will be called have not been worked through, but it may be something like ‘Ascribe – powered by Emis Group’.

Ascribe’s two founders, Stephen Critchlow and Christopher Jones, will remain with the business.