The two largest electronic patient record suppliers to GP practices in England are piloting how to directly link their respective clinical information systems.

Emis Health and TPP launched the London-based pilot on 2 May, which connects The Orchard Practice’s Emis Web system with Hillingdon Diabetes Service’s TPP SystmOne.

The data exchanged is initially limited, with GPs at the practice now being able to view community nursing data from the diabetes service. Clinical staff at Hillingdon Diabetes Service can now view patients’ GP records.

Dr Mohamed Adem, senior lead GP at Orchard, told Digital Health News that, with patients’ consent, their medical summary, problems, medication and allergies are now being shared.

“With the pressures facing NHS and budget constraints, we also feel that sharing information will reduce medicine waste during medication treatment regimes after diagnosis.”

Other benefits for Dr Adem included: making informative, accurate and timely decisions; effective communication with colleagues; and an ability to view problems relating to medication and regime change.

Veronica Green, diabetes team leader at Hillingdon Diabetes Service, said that the pilot “will greatly improve communication between the patients’ GPs and us which will improve care, save time and reduce the potential for errors”.

Dr John Parry, clinical director at TPP and Shaun O’Hanlon, chief medical officer at Emis Group, said in a joint statement that the trial was “momentous”.

“It means that even more patients across the country will benefit from clinicians securely accessing their shared record.”

Emis Health and TPP have the lion’s share of the English GP IT supplier market, between them their systems host the GP record for nearly nine out of ten patients in England.

Being able to share data across a geographical region has been pushed over the last year through the NHS England’s sustainability and transformation plans (STPs) and local digital roadmaps.

This is not the first time the competitive suppliers have created interoperability solutions between their systems.

In October 2015, the two companies worked with Central London Community Healthcare NHS Trust and NHS Waltham Forest Clinical Commissioning Group on two pilots that will allow users of Emis Web or TPP’s SystmOne to view data stored on the other system without the need for an external integration service.

This was after a pact was signed in March 2015 between the companies that was to enable direct interoperability between their clinical systems.

The first exchange of clinical information between TPP’s SystmOne and Emis Web was piloted in May 2013, and used the Medical Interoperability Gateway.