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National accolade for healthcare innovator

11 March 2019

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A healthcare innovator from Cheshire has been selected to be a Fellow of the prestigious NHS Innovation Accelerator (NIA).

Charles MacKinnon is healthcare director at IEG4 Ltd, the company behind a computer software package that has helped improve patient care in Cheshire.

The software is designed for teams handling continuing healthcare (or CHC), a package of care for people with complex health needs. The software helps speed up the process by which an individual’s eligibility for care is assessed.

There has been an 18 per cent reduction in administration costs in the areas covered by the five Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Cheshire and Wirral where it has been implemented. And the number of continuing healthcare cases that have been assessed within the 28-day standard has jumped from 62 per cent to 82 per cent.

Charles MacKinnon said: “I’m delighted to have been appointed a Fellow. My role for the last 20 years has been to develop innovations for the benefit of patients and helping patients become more involved in the way services are delivered. This is an acknowledgement that I’ve put in a great deal of time and effort. 

“For patients, it’s a question of putting them in control of their healthcare. There have been occasions in the past when I’ve spoken to a patient with asthma or a cancer patient and there’s a sense they’re being used by the system. I’ve always wanted to put them in control and help them to see what’s going to happen next in their treatment. 

“The Innovation Agency were catalysts for this right from the start. They were the ones who gave me the confidence to apply for funding, for instance, when I didn’t think a small digital company in Cheshire would be in the running for it.

“After a number of months we had a product that could be rolled out and at that point the Innovation Agency said they would fund an independent evaluation. Their support has been brilliant.”

The Innovation Agency supported IEG4 by helping the company access markets in Cheshire and supporting its funding bids. It was also involved in an evaluation of the CHC2DST system in Cheshire. 

The NIA is an NHS England initiative delivered in partnership with the country’s 15 Academic Health Science Networks, of which the Innovation Agency is one. The NIA supports Fellows in spreading high-impact innovations across the NHS to the benefit of patients and staff.

Since its launch in 2015, it has seen 1,700 NHS sites adopt NIA innovations, created 280 jobs and raised £79m in funding.

Charles MacKinnon is one of 13 Fellows and innovations admitted to the NIA this year. During his career he has had roles in clinical research, medical communications, patient support and software development. 

Previously, he has led the launch of a global digital patient support resource for sufferers of multiple sclerosis, led the development of a global website for urologist education, and worked as European lead for global medical communications organisation, Omnicom Inc. 

The software developed by Alderley Edge-based IEG4, known as CHC2DST, allows healthcare staff to do away with paper assessments of individuals and has automated the work to pave the way for quicker decisions.

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