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The University of Southampton

Auditory Implant Service wins award to expand telemedicine project

Published: 20 October 2017
Implant recipient
The Auditory Implant Service's telemedicine tool allows remote access to a range of services

A team from University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service has been selected to be part of a £3.5 million improvement programme by independent charity the Health Foundation.

The Scaling Up Improvement programme supports seven projects in the UK to take their proven health care interventions and approaches and make them work at larger scale to have a positive impact on patient outcomes.  The programme will run for two and a half years and each project will receive up to £500,000 of funding to put their project into practice and evaluate it.

The initiative from the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service will roll out successful telemedicine tools for adults with cochlear implants across the UK.

During a six-month clinical trial in 2016, also funded by the Health Foundation, the Auditory Implant Service worked with 60 patients to determine whether their routine annual check could be replaced with home tools personalised to their needs.

During the trial, half the participants continued with the standard clinical programme, while the other half used remote tools to monitor their hearing and perform their own hearing rehabilitation and device care at home.

Those patients using the remote tools were significantly more empowered after the trial.  Patients and clinicians were keen to continue using remote care, with the most popular aspect being the home hearing test.

Dr Helen Cullington, Clinical Scientist at the University of Southampton Auditory Implant Service and Project Lead said, “People with cochlear implants in the UK need lifelong follow-up at one of only 18 centres across the country. We are going to scale up a successful remote care pathway, and offer the improvement to all centres across the UK.  Patients can choose to use a personalised online support tool, home hearing test and self-device adjustment.  We hope to see more empowered and confident patients, better access to care, stable hearing and a more efficient clinic.”

The Auditory Implant Service will lead the telemedicine project and will work in partnership with a wide range of organisations to deliver the project, including University of Nottingham, Newcastle University, Wessex Academic Health Science Network, The Ear Foundation and the National Cochlear Implant Users Association.

Sarah Henderson, Associate Director from the Health Foundation said: “We are very excited to support seven outstanding project teams who have been selected because of their expertise in scaling complex improvement projects, and their ambition to achieve impact by improving care for patients.

Working together, as part of the Scaling Up programme, we aim to make sustained improvements to health care by testing out proven interventions at a scale. We hope to see the interventions being widely adopted across the UK.”


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