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The University of Southampton

Auditory Implant Service wins innovation award to improve quality of health care

Published: 30 April 2015

Dr Helen Cullington from University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service has been selected by the Health Foundation, an independent health care charity, to be part of its new £1.5 million innovation programme, Innovating for Improvement.

The programme is supporting 17 health care projects in the UK with the aim of improving health care delivery and/or the way people manage their own health care by testing and developing innovative ideas and approaches and putting them into practice.

The initiative from University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service aims to design and implement a follow-up pathway for cochlear implant patients using remote self-monitoring, self-adjustment of devices, and an online or smartphone intervention package.

Over the course of the programme the team will develop its innovative idea and approach, put it into practice and gather evidence about how the innovation improves the quality of health care.

Dr Cullington will lead the team, which includes University colleagues from Southampton Management School and Electronics and Computer Science, along with the University of Nottingham, Cochlear UK and service users.

Dr Cullington said, “We are very excited to be working with the Health Foundation on this project. There are more than 13,000 people using cochlear implants in the UK. Currently patients have to visit the cochlear implant clinic approximately annually for the rest of their lives. We will provide a new patient-centred approach using a telehealth care package where the patient only attends clinic if there is clinical need (no more routine checks). The patient and clinician will monitor hearing and check the implant device at home. The patient can fine-tune their hearing to suit their own real-world environment, and manage the majority of their care needs through a personalised online intervention package.”

Libby Keck, Programme Manager from the Health Foundation, said: “We are very excited to be working with such a high-calibre of teams, who all have great innovative ideas. As an organisation we are keen to support innovation at the frontline, therefore I am pleased that we will be able to support these ambitious teams to develop and test their innovative ideas over the next year.

“Our aim is to promote the effectiveness and real impact of the teams’ innovations and show how they have succeeded in improving the quality of health care, with the intention of these being widely adopted across the UK health service.”

The programme will run for 15 months and the project will receive up to £75,000 of funding to support its implementation and evaluation.

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