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Innovating the future of ENT

This week, members of the RSM Otology and Laryngology & Rhinology Sections come together to discuss the future of ENT.  

With high-profile speakers including Mr Tim Mitchell, President of the Royal College of Surgeons, and Dr Chris Streather, Chief Clinical Information Officer NHS England, the meeting will cover the field’s latest advances, new and emerging technologies, implementation of updated guidelines, and the role of the specialty within healthcare as well as the future of the NHS itself. 

The last time the two Sections met, in March, the meeting’s focus was on ‘inspiring innovations in ENT surgery’, showcasing not only innovations in the field but also the process required to take ideas from bench to bedside. 

During the event a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style session was held, with four healthcare entrepreneurs presenting pitches to a panel of judges chaired by Mr Krishan Ramdoo, Founder and CEO of Tympa.  

The first prize was awarded to Mr Issa Begun, Post Certificate of Completion of Training, Royal College of Surgeons of England, Rhinology Fellow at Imperial Health, for his talk on ‘The ENT garage project’. Dr James Arwyn-Jones, ENT Registrar, PhD Fellow, Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health took second place for his idea for an adapter that turns a smartphone into a light source for flexible nasendoscopy. 

We caught up with the winners to find out more about them. 

Mr Issa Begun

“Beyond the academic realm, medical device invention is my other passion,” said Mr Issa Begun. “Driven by necessity and a love for teaching I’ve designed, built, and even sold numerous devices from my home workshop. These creations span from simplifying daily tasks for patients to training healthcare professionals in life-saving procedures, demonstrably improving patient outcomes by reducing hospital stays and resource utilisation. 

“Having completed my surgical training I’m now seeking to commercialise my extensive portfolio of published and unpublished works. I welcome the support and mentorship the RSM provides aiding me to navigate the exciting journey of transforming my garage inventions into commercially successful medical solutions.” 

Dr Arwyn-Jones commented: “My Dragon’s Den pitch was a presentation of an invention that I had the initial idea for when I was an ENT SHO back in 2020. After three or four years of working on it with the Imperial College Healthcare Innovations Team, and having a working prototype courtesy of Maddison Limited, we had recently filed a design right that allowed us to share our work in the public domain at the RSM. The invention itself is a very simple device that works as an adapter to enable the use of your smartphone torch as a light source for flexible nasendoscopy. 

Dr Arwyn-Jones

“The win was great to receive as it validated the efforts of the team that has worked on this project. It was also a fantastic opportunity to showcase the device to such a large group of ENT colleagues and receive positive feedback!” 

Professor Peter Rea, President, RSM Otology Section, and Professor Claire Hopkins, President, RSM Laryngology and Rhinology Section, added: “We were delighted to welcome Dr Krishan Ramdoo to chair a Dragon’s Den panel analysing real-world innovations in ENT in front of an audience of ENT surgeons. The RSM is clearly now the place to learn and to network and it was exciting listening to delegates sharing ideas and offers of support being extended. 

“A large number of submissions were received from ENT surgeons at different stages of their careers, with the best four entries invited to pitch their inventions. A diverse range of new products was presented, from multifunctional light sources, to teaching aids, smell detectors for Alzheimer’s disease, and novel endoscopic attachments. The standard was superb and the entrepreneurs enthusiastic. 

“Dr Ramdoo skilfully chaired the panel adding his insights into how to develop a successful company - something he has already achieved with $35,000,000 of venture capital funding to his name to date. 

“The Shah Innovation Prize went to Dr James Alwyn-Jones. The Dragons were impressed by the thoughtful development of his light source attachment and how it could be used in both developed and developing countries, along with his professional presentation. The overall winner, awarded a cash prize from Tympa alongside a mentoring scheme, was Mr Issa Begun for his “Garage” of ideas. He inspired the Dragons with his true entrepreneurial spirit of invention, cascade of novel ideas, drive to succeed, and his unique approach to presenting his ideas. Congratulations to everyone involved!” 

The Section Presidents went on to say they were looking forward to ENT into the Future, the final event of the academic year, ahead of a week-long tour of the UK taking the Sections’ international travelling Professors to meetings in Wales (Cardiff), the midlands (with the Midland Institute of Otorhinolaryngology), and to the north of England and Scottish joint meetings (in Newcastle). 

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