Aston University and Eye Docs collaborate to reduce backlogs in outpatient care and NHS surgery waiting lists.

To help reduce NHS surgery waiting lists and outpatient backlogs, Aston University has partnered with the commercial ophthalmology services clinic Eye Docs for a 32-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP).

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, average NHS wait times in the West Midlands have climbed to more than 12 months, with waiting list contracts ranging from 100 to 1,500 individuals.

As part of the KTP, a multidisciplinary team from the School of Optometry at Aston University and the Aston Business School will collaborate with the West Midlands-based business Eye Docs to develop a “shared-care” model.

A KTP is a three-way partnership between an organization like a corporation, an institution like an academic partner, and a highly skilled researcher known as a KTP associate.

Clinical optometry and management science skills will be incorporated into the working model to determine which patient appointments can be handled in community practices and which require the services of Eye Docs surgeons. It is intended that this method of working will lessen the strain on the NHS by generating a model that is more efficient and affordable for all parties involved, from patients to physicians.

Professor Shehzad Naroo, professor of optometry at Aston University, will be in charge of the group. He has experience managing projects that enhance the delivery of eye care services as well as leading multidisciplinary groups. Professor Naroo has a long history of collaborating with private practices to enhance eye care delivery, boost efficiency, and expand the role of private practices in aiding the NHS.

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He will have the assistance of Professor Prasanta Dey, an expert in operations and information management whose research interests include supply chain management, project management, and the use of multi-criteria decision-making in the workplace.

Dr. Yang Zhao, senior lecturer in operations and information management, who specializes in digital business models, platform business models, digital innovation, digital healthcare, and digitalization in aging societies, will round out the team.

As a consultant ophthalmologist and co-owner of Eye Docs, Professor Shah said: “This partnership will allow us to adopt the most recent 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.

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We will be able to accomplish the goals of this project by collaborating with a multidisciplinary team made up of clinical and commercial specialists from Aston University.

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