How can videos improve health care?

In the NHS, grabbing the attention of staff, patients and public already deluged with information flowing from internal and external channels, is a challenge. 

By using video, we increase our chances of being heard and seen – and this will help us to have an impact on health care. 

It’s been shown that 10 per cent of us remember what we are told; 20 per cent remember what we have read; and 80 per cent can recall what we see and do.

So how can we use video to improve health? Here are five great examples from the recent Innovation Agency #EngageWell event in Liverpool.

Self-care: GP Dr Andy Knox posts self-care videos on his Carnforth Ashtrees Surgery website. He describes how appointments for earache fell from 120 in the winter of 2015/16 to just 15 last winter – and he attributes this to his video about treating earache. A health crusader and the Director for Health and Wellbeing for Lancashire North CCG, Andy is a strong believer in using social media and video to reach wider audiences - and it’s having an impact on his patients.

Co-creating with patients: Mental health trust Mersey Care use video to challenge stigmas and they involve patients and service users, which is more powerful – and helps those who are part of the creative process. For those who feel too vulnerable to be identified, they have developed a technique of filming people as they draw their thoughts in pictures, accompanied by their narrative. View an example here.

Staff engagement: University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay produce short videos on their website UHMBTV page. Film has played a key role in the trust’s staff and public engagement plans, including promoting staff involvement in the trust’s sustainability programme. The films show viewers ‘what we do every day across our hospitals, whilst also updating you on our future plans, recent developments and on-going improvement projects’.

Using humour to get results: Award winning public sector communicator Daniel Cattanach (@DanielCattanach) achieved a sharp increase in voter registration for Bath and North East Somerset Council with his 14 second Valentine’s Day video of someone signing a card: ‘Love your vote – don’t lose it’ to persuade people to join the electoral register. And he had people flocking to a ‘Devo deckchairs’ public consultation event – with his seaside song ‘Oh We’d like to talk with you about Devolution’. Home-made, at no cost to himself other than the price of an ice cream – and very watchable!

Sharing learning: Blogs, vlogs and social media help to spread knowledge and encourage collaboration. This November 2017 sees the first Virtual NHS Innovation Expo, involving leaders and experts from NHS, social care and local government. Nusrat Latif, CEO of @MedicineGov who is organising the event, will draw on her substantial networks to deliver webinars, tweet chats, blogs and live streamed videos about the latest policies and thinking in health, to create understanding – and positive change. So where do we start – how do we create videos without the expense of a professional videographer – and what sort of videos will fly on social media?

Here are seven tips from the experts speaking at #EngageWell:

Keep it steady: Hold your device with both hands – use a tripod or rest your elbows or the camera on a stable surface such as a table.

Record in landscape: Remember we view film on wide screens – think of your TV and your laptop; vertical isn’t good for video.

Lighting: Make sure your subject is well lit and the light source is behind you.

Hold the shot: Keep your camera still – the less movement, the better the quality; don’t be tempted to move the camera around as mobiles don’t focus instantly and the effect can be frustrating for the viewer.

Zooming: Smartphones aren’t great at zooming in – if you need to do it, move in slowly and then retreat slowly.

Best video length for social channels: Twitter: 15 secs; Facebook: 21 secs; YouTube: three minutes

Add subtitles or captions: Subtitles are important as many people are watching videos on Facebook and Twitter on silent mode.

Editing apps: For iPhones and iPads, it’s iMovie; for Android, it’s Kinemaster.

With thanks to Dan Slee of Comms2point0, Rob Glass of Flotilla Video Training and Josh Woods of FeaturePhonic Media.

And a big thank you to all the delegates at #EngageWell who shared experiences so we could learn from each other – largely comms folk but also doctors, educators, nurses, health managers, academics - and one midwife!

You can see speaker presentations on SlideShare from this and our previous #EngageWell event.


Posted by: By Caroline Kenyon, on: 04 May 2017