Published on 05/04/2023
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Professor Shah in clinic
  • 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.”

Notes to editors

A Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) is a UK-wide programme that helps businesses to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills. Aston University is a leading KTP provider, ranked third in terms of volume by Innovate UK, the National body.
This project is co-funded by the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

Watch our short film to see how it works and visit our website for examples of KTP in action at Aston.

To find out more about how your business can benefit from working with Aston University, please email or call 0121 204 4242

About Aston University

Founded in 1895 and a university since 1966, Aston is a long established university led by its three main beneficiary groups – students, business and the professions, and the West Midlands region and wider society. Located in Birmingham at the heart of a vibrant city, the campus houses all the University’s academic, social and accommodation facilities for our students. Professor Aleks Subic is the Vice-Chancellor & Chief Executive.

In 2022 Aston University was ranked in the top 25 of the Guardian University Guide, based on measures including entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects. The Aston Business School MBA programme was ranked in the top 100 in the world in the Economist MBA 2021 ranking.

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