New virtual consultation technology in Leeds to connect clinicians with new-borns with cleft lip
A new virtual consultation technology being trialled by Leeds Children's Hospital is set to accelerate the future of healthcare for babies born with cleft lip and palate.
It is hoped the remote imaging capabilities of the TytoCare digital solution will stop parents having to travel long distances to see a surgeon.
Instead, they will be able to use the new technology to connect with clinicians from their own homes.
Leeds Children’s Hospital is trialling the virtual consultation in partnership with the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership, NHSX and the Yorkshire and Humber Academic Health Science Network.
Emma Blair, lead nurse for the cleft lip and palate service at Leeds Children’s Hospital, said: “To agree surgical options for children with a cleft lip and/or palate, and review postoperative healing, consultants need a high-quality view of the inside of the mouth.
"Currently, we can only do this by seeing the patient face to face at the hospital.
"However, Tyto’s virtual capabilities, which includes a hand-held assessment tool, means the nurse can visit the patient’s home to capture high quality images to share with the surgeon and plan surgical care options.
“Clinical nurse specialists obtain postoperative images and share these with the surgeon to review post-operative healing.
"At the moment, the surgeon has to see the patient face to face to do this.
"Using Tyto technology means we can provide high quality images that enable better-informed remote clinical decision making.”
Before COVID-19, patients would have to travel - sometimes long distances - for appointments at the hospital, meaning time out for parents and carers who may also be working and have other commitments.
The clinical team also needed to travel to outreach clinics to review patients.
Emma added: “Making best use of digital solutions and delivering more care remotely not only cuts down on travel it helps to avoid unnecessary visits to hospital, especially important right now when people might not want to be in a healthcare environment."
Clefts of the lip and palate are not uncommon and about one in every 700 babies born each year in the UK will have a cleft involving part of the lip or roof of the mouth.
The pilot of the TytoCare solution went live for cleft lip and palate patients on June 30, 2021 and will continue until April 2022.