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Interview with Kerrill Thornhill, CEO of MEG

Ireland has long been recognised as a proven leader of MedTech manufacturing and supply – and is the second largest supplier of MedTech products in Europe, supplying products to over 100 countries worldwide.


Dublin-based firm, MEG is part of that success story.  A digital quality management system for healthcare; the suite of configurable mobile and cloud-based tools enables providers to engage staff in quality improvement, patient safety and manage compliance with accreditation or regulatory standards.


Founded by Kerrill Thornhill in 2016, the innovative company delivers its quality management system in easy-to-use modules, which can be used on any device by frontline workers to collect or access data at any time. The system can capture incidents, record risk assessments and audits and information can be collated, analysed, and acted upon across multiple sites in real-time.


MEG is currently in operation in over 15 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Australasia and Latin America with multi-lingual support and, by including healthcare workers in their product design process, it has an edge over its competitors, according to its CEO.


“Healthcare staff have hundreds of interactions which involve data collection, reporting or fixing problems,” he said. “Using mobile tech to simplify each of these touch points is hugely time-saving, removing transcription errors and providing data to improve patient safety.  Streamlining all these little jobs has a huge multiplier effect when it comes to improving life for staff and patients.  It’s also hugely rewarding for our own staff.


“The strengths which set us apart include a superior product experience, reporting functionality and configurability, along with domain knowledge and excellent customer support.  A lot of healthcare organisations use legacy software, paper or even no systems at all to manage quality, but we are a mobile-first quality management system designed specifically for healthcare.


“In addition to this, most of our staff have clinical healthcare backgrounds, so we understand complex healthcare requirements and back it up with excellent customer support.  A lot of our growth comes from client referrals and once they experience the value MEG’s system can deliver first hand, we retain our customers.”


Another challenge in the healthcare system is the amount of clinical and care quality data which needs to be processed; making exact and informed decisions requires organisations to have access to timely and accurate data. However, managing this data can be difficult, especially when it is spread out across different locations and legacy systems.


But MEG’s QMS connects disparate processes, people, sources, and data on any device to give greater visibility, prevent information silos, smooth the road to compliance, and drive a culture of quality improvement and safer patient outcomes. Focusing on integration capabilities and effective data exchange will ensure MEG’s strategic product roadmap continues to meet healthcare providers’ interoperability requirements.


Operating out of offices in the Digital Depot on Thomas Street, the team at MEG has doubled this year with 24-full time and four part-time staff on board. This expansion and the onset of flexible working has seen further business for the company in the UK and across the globe.


“We’ve doubled our business in the last 9 months, with over 50% of new business coming from the UK,” said the CEO. “Brexit has put a lot of pressure on NHS staffing and  our tools increase productivity which has led to an increase in demand. We are a considerable improvement on legacy products in the market which has also helped growth.


“The pandemic accelerated the rate of digital adoption in healthcare, meetings have moved online and the increase in digital literacy makes it easier to implement software products like ours. Prior to the pandemic, I would regularly take 6.30am flights to the UK, with one or two meetings a day. Now I can have several meetings with clients from all over the world without leaving my kitchen table as most of our customers are now on boarded without any in person meetings, which is also great for the environment.”


Having started his career as a mechanical engineer, and with over 20 years of experience in product design, business development and manufacturing, Thornhill was well placed to design and implement innovative digital solutions for hospitals in many corners of the world, including recent collaborative projects in the UK.


“We are launching a co-branded app with one of the UK’s biggest infection prevention product companies, introducing MEG to over 100 hospitals globally – opening up lots of new and exciting new collaborations,”  he said.


“Other recent wins include new clients and expansions around the NHS, such as the King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, The Royal Marsden, Barking, Havering & Redbridge, Cambridge & Peterborough, Norfolk & Suffolk, Jersey General Hospital and several more.


“In addition to this, Guys and St Thomas NHS FT have begun using MEG for Ward Accreditation and NHS Lothian has become our biggest customer.”


Thornhill says that the NHS has a ‘huge Irish footprint’ with a strong commitment to public service and caring industries and MEG has many exciting plans in the pipeline.


“We’ve been very lucky to work with great people all over the NHS from lots of different backgrounds,” he said. “And with 100% growth year on year, we need more UK-based staff to work on customer support, business development, marketing, and sales. We’re looking to grow our team to over 50 staff in the next 12 months and launch in several new countries.”


“Plus, we’re launching our ‘Incident Reporting’ module in the UK next month. This will be compliant with the new NHS LFPSE (Learning From Patient Safety Event) system requirements – a central service for the recording and analysis of patient safety events which occur in healthcare. We will be one of a small number of companies who can offer this service to UK-based clients.


“Our technical plans include creating a new ‘Insights’ module, which will use our existing benchmark data and AI to produce predictive models to help identify and fix problems in healthcare environments before they cause patient harm.  As an engineer, I find this one of our more interesting projects.”


It is clear that MEG is going through a period of rapid growth in the range of customers using the system, as until recently, over 85% of its customer base was in Ireland, while in the last year over 90% of its customers have come from international markets.


The company founder says Enterprise Ireland’s international teams have been incredibly important in helping MEG to “reach new international markets and get in front of the right people.”  And he is looking forward to a bright future ahead.


Recent success sees us working with some of the leading healthcare organisations around the world, providing us with collaborative clinical expertise to help steer product evolution,” he said. “Seeing the MEG system improve quality and patient safety at scale is both exciting and humbling.  Maintaining our positive company culture has given us a solid foundation for fast growth, helping us to achieve our goal of being the world’s leading healthcare-specific quality management system with a truly global focus.”


“Being surrounded by a diverse group of people, with happy and healthy company culture is critical to our success and will remain central to everything we do.”

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