I-Patient has been approved as the first patient facing software available under the GP Systems of Choice contracts.

Brian Fisher, co-director of health software company PAERs, said final approval to “pair” i-Patient with the Emis Health’s primary GP system was granted by NHS Digital last week.

This means that i-Patient, a patient record and communication software, is available to patients across any GP practice using the Emis Web system. Emis Health says it covers 54% of the GP market.

“We are very happy to be going live. People are using it and that is very exciting.”

PAERs’ i-Patient is one of three patient facing subsidiary suppliers, along with iPlato and Wiggly-Amps, that has been going through the long and sometimes arduous process of pairing with primary systems. It is understood the two other companies are still awaiting approval.

i-Patient is a patient facing record system, that allows patients to view their health records and test results, book appointments, use secure messaging, and request repeat prescriptions.

The pair is covered by the GP Systems of Choice contracts signed in March 2014. The contracts require primary systems suppliers [Emis Health, TPP, INPS and Microtest] to provide interface mechanisms to allow the suppliers of subsidiary services to integrate with them.

For subsidiary suppliers, gaining GPSoc approval means access to revenue, as they will receive a payment per transaction once a patient signs up to use their service.

Fisher said the initial revenue from these transactions would be small but if iPatient did prove popular with patients it would open the door to offering more services, much as targeted public health messaging and greater integration with other health data.

“This is just the first step.”

PAERs is yet to integrate with TPP’s SystmOne system, the other major GP primary system, but Fisher said the process was “80% there”.

There are more than 50 “pairings” of primary and subsidiary suppliers going through the GPSoc process, with six given granted pairing approval.

These include eRA (eRefferal) Toolkit, My RightCare, SQL Suite, Enlighten E4 and now i-Patient.

Running parallel to the pairing between subsidiary and primary systems, is a broader effort to agree to standard open APIs for all primary GP systems.

A ‘composite plan’ was scheduled to be released in April with the aim of having the initial list of agreed APIs developed and either in testing or live within two years. However, the plan has still not been released and NHS England’s last update in June stated it was still going through an “internal publication process”.