Aston University teams up with eye care provider to reduce NHS patient backlog

Aston University teams up with eye care provider to reduce NHS patient backlog

April 6, 20232 min read

  • Aston University and Eye Docs Ltd enter Knowledge Transfer Partnership to establish new shared-care regimes for eye care patients
  • The new model will help patients access Eye Docs surgeons
  • It will help reduce NHS waiting lists, outpatient clinic backlogs, improve patient care and deliver profits of over £8.8 million

Aston University has teamed up with private ophthalmic services clinic, Eye Docs, to undertake a 32-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP), to help clear NHS surgery waiting-lists and outpatient backlogs.

In the West Midlands, average NHS waiting times have increased to over 12 months due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, with waiting list contracts ranging from 100 to 1,500 patients.

A cross-disciplinary team from Aston University’s School of Optometry and Aston Business School will work with West Midlands-based company Eye Docs to create a ‘shared-care’ model as part of the KTP.

A KTP is a three-way collaboration between a business, an academic partner and a highly qualified researcher, known as a KTP associate.

The working model will encompass clinical optometry and management science expertise to identify which patient appointments could be undertaken in community practices and which need to be seen by Eye Docs surgeons. It is hoped this way of working will also help reduce pressure on the NHS - creating a more efficient and cost-effective model that will benefit all stakeholders from patients to clinicians.

The Aston University team will be led by Professor Shehzad Naroo, professor of optometry, who brings expertise in leading multidisciplinary groups and managing projects that improve eye care service delivery. Professor Naroo has a long history of working with private clinics to improve delivery of eye care, increasing efficiency and widening the role of private clinics to support the NHS.

He will be supported by Professor Prasanta Dey, professor in operations and information management, whose research interests are in project management, service operations management, supply chain management and applications of multi-criteria decision making in industry.

Completing the team will be Dr Yang Zhao, senior lecturer in operations and information management, whose research interests are in business model design, digital business models, platform business models, digital innovation, digital healthcare and digitalisation in aging societies.

Professor Shehzad Naroo, professor of optometry at Aston University, said: “It is a privilege to be involved in this KTP, which will enable Eye Docs to increase patient numbers to fully utilise theatre capacity by receiving more surgical referrals from local optometrists.

“We’re thrilled to be able to help Eye Docs to offer community-based services to patients and help to reduce the burden on the NHS.”

Professor Shah, consultant ophthalmic surgeon and co-owner of Eye Docs, said: “This partnership will allow us to adopt the latest research and expertise from a world-leading academic institute to develop new patient pathways and shared-care regimes, enabling us to grow our business and profitability, develop new services and improve patient care.

“Working with a multidisciplinary team of clinical and business experts from Aston University will help us to achieve the aims of this project.”

Connect with:
  • Dr Shehzad Naroo
    Dr Shehzad Naroo Reader, Optometry

    Dr Naroo's research interests include contact lenses, dry eye, corneal biomechanics, laser refractive surgery, cataract and lens surgery.

  • Dr Prasanta Dey
    Dr Prasanta Dey Professor in Operations and Information Management

    Dr Dey specializes in low carbon supply chain management and project management.

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