Emis is set to follow up a data sharing deal with TPP with new interoperability agreements to cover the other suppliers in the market.

The company says it is preparing to sign an agreement with INPS and Microtest to offer direct interoperability between clinical systems, allowing practices to ‘call’ a patient’s record directly from any system.

Practices will also be able to send data back into that system to record the consultation or treatment given.

Emis says the agreements will include “robust and proven security arrangements” to ensure patients’ data is safe.

Last month, Emis and TPP said they had signed a direct data sharing agreement as part of an effort to help deliver more integrated patient care across multiple settings and address a growing need for interoperability.

Dr John Parry, TPP’s clinical director, said both companies had wanted to work more closely “over the last umpteen years” but only recently found the impetus to move ahead.

Emis chief executive Chris Spencer said the growth of GP federations and the focus on open interfaces in the new GP Systems of Choice framework had both helped to speed up progress.

“There have been some major changes in the healthcare landscape… and I think now is the right time to do this.”

The latest announcement expands Emis’s interoperability ambitions further. INPS and Microtest are believed to hold about a quarter of the English primary care market, with the former covering 20% and the latter 5%.

Emis managing director Matt Murphy told EHI News the prospective deals with INPS and Microtest are in response to growing calls for improved interoperability between systems.

“We’re seeing more and more demand for us to provide integrated  solutions: in terms of federated GP practices across geographies, it doesn’t always conveniently fit with which systems the practices are using.”

While the Medical Interoperability Gateway, jointly owned by Emis and INPS, was suitable for more complex interoperability with multiple suppliers, Murphy said signing direct agreements will provide a more suitable solution for simpler data sharing requirements.

“This is really to say, let’s give people options – you can all use one system if you want, or you can share information.”

Emis is hoping to apply the same data sharing methodologies with each supplier, using standard interfaces, although Murphy said it is yet to complete “technical due diligence” with INPS and Microtest.

He said Emis will take a phased approach to data sharing once agreements are signed.

Initially, Emis users will be able to view a patient’s complete medical history from any of the four clinical systems, with the ability to send data on consultations and treatments back into any system following after.

Attention will then move to sending tasks between systems for more joined-up care, as well as being able to book and receive appointments between different organisations working together – from local community services to other GP practices in a network.