Using videos and text messages to reduce GP demand – The future of primary care?

Videos and text messages

GP practices across Devon have been funded by their CCGs to access customisable Health Information Video Libraries for a year to see if using video can help relieve demands on staff and waiting times.

The video library, which is connected to the individual CCG or GP practice website, contains over 250 patient information videos across a range of specialist areas such as contraception, diabetes, falls prevention and inhaler use also contain signposting to local resources such as support groups, care organisations and patient information.

Outcomes achieved so far:

  • Reduction in pre diabetes appointments – replacing pre-diabetes appointments with a video this adds up to 500 nurse hours saved per year per practice
  • Removal of annual reviews for Progesterone Only Pill in order to free practice nurse time
  • Results from our patient survey show that 3 out of 4 patients, having seen a video, did not need to see their GP
  • Podiatry departments have seen a 25% reduction in appointment time by using video
  • Are patients watching the videos? We have had 400 views on our Primary Care sites alone over the past week. Reduction in consultation time explaining conditions or procedures, often repetitive messages (1-3 minutes GP time saved)
  • Inhaler technique videos replace the need for a GP or nurse to demonstrate in person. Video link emailed to all patients registered as inhaler users as a refresher (10 minutes of appointment time saved).
  • Prevent people making an appointment for common issues such as coughs, sprains and lower back pain by reception staff diverting them to watch a video or through education via social media (20 minute appointment saved)
  • Work in conjunction with national health campaigns such as smoking – videos emailed/ text to register of smokers (£700 postage saved)

What do the practices say?

One of the participants in the trial, Torquay’s Chelston Hall Surgery, have been actively sharing the videos with their patients and have already seen its implementation actively reduce demands on the surgery.

Practice Manager, Mark Thomas, who is also chair of the South Devon and Torbay Practice Managers group, added a simple ‘Self-care videos’ button onto their practice website and has used Patient Chase to send a series of condition related text messages containing links to the relevant videos.

What followed was an immediate spike in the viewing figures for these specific pages, a 20% uptake from the patients sent the text.

It works’ said Mark, ‘condition specific texts seem to be the way forward’

The viewing peaks shown correlate to the days the text messages were sent from Chelston Hall Surgery

‘I am a convert and I believe this an additional and beneficial service to help patients manage and understand their conditions’ says Mark Thomas.

Chelston Hall Surgery now has a programme of patient texts for other chronic disease areas that they will continue to send to specific patient groups in the coming months.

And it doesn’t end there. Practices are also signposting and sharing the videos via email, pre-printed cards and leaflets containing QR codes and links, and showing them on the TV screens in waiting rooms.

The videos are helping practice teams remove the need for some patient appointments by encouraging patients to self-manage their conditions, and reducing the time within others as the patient arrives better informed having already watch a video on their condition.

Find out more

Click here to find out more about setting up and customising the Health Information Video Libraries for your needs.