The UK’s first paediatric teleotology service

My Topol fellowship problem / project:

At the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, we have adopted “NHS Advice and Guidance” (A&G), a digital communication channel allowing primary care clinicians to seek advice from hospital specialists prior to, or instead of a referral, to improve our ability to triage more effectively.

Whilst A&G has proved beneficial overall, impact has been limited in children and young people with ear and hearing disease. This is because currently healthcare professionals cannot securely capture and share digital images of patients’ eardrums to assist with remote diagnosis. This means a significant number of children and young people end up being referred for in-person reviews for innocuous conditions, contributing to delays for others, and additional pressure on already strained care providers. A&G has generally proved useful, but it is nowhere near its full potential when used for ear and hearing conditions. This inability to fully acutalise the use of A&G for ear and hearing problems is not unique to our hospital, and is a problem across multiple hospital Trusts.

During the Topol fellowship, I will design and deliver a pilot of the UK’s first paediatric teleotology (telemedicine for ear and hearing diseases) service. Teleotology is a potential solution to the challenges highlighted above and has been shown to be an efficient and cost- effective model of care in other healthcare systems. Teleotology has the added benefit of reducing patient journeys for hospital appointments, ensuring progress towards “Delivering a Net Zero Health Service”.

I am an Ear, Nose and Throat Surgery Registrar at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital.

I am currently studying for a PhD at the University of Manchester. I am investigating how we can leverage AI to optimise telemedicine services for children with ear and hearing problems in the Greater Manchester area.

In addition to this, I am leading a multi-professional collaboration between an NHS Trust, University and Medtech start-up to deliver my Topol project, and have been awarded £100k in funding so far. My long-term goals are to use research and digital transformation to widen access to specialist ear and hearing healthcare, and improve hearing health outcomes for people in the UK and internationally.

I completed my undergraduate medical training at the Universities of St Andrews and Manchester (UoM), and hold a Masters in Public Health, Global Health and Emergency Humanitarian Assistance from UoM. I have spent my postgraduate training years in the North West where a keen interest in quality improvement has led me to take on various digital leadership roles. I am currently a specialty advisor on the implementation of a new £400m electronic patient record at my NHS Trust.

When not looking up noses and in ears, or pursuing digital transformation projects, I love travelling, golfing and spending time with my family.