The value of video: how NHSX is facilitating an innovative solution to alleviate pressures on clinicians

Natasha Phillips

As we know, the pressures which COVID-19 has placed on already stretched health and care services continue, particularly with the uncertainty of further outbreaks of the pandemic. Nurses and other clinicians have had to adapt to new ways of working to protect patients and staff and back in June, my colleague Tara Donnelly wrote about how innovative ways of delivering patient care, without the need for travel to a face-to-face appointment, are becoming the norm. Increasingly, patients and clinicians are adapting to more of the patient journey taking place at home. 

Throughout the pandemic NHSX has been driving the delivery of digital solutions to alleviate pressures on clinicians and facilitate safer ways of delivering patient care. We’ve also seen innovators across the country making generous offers of digital products and services to support health and care systems, and we’ve been working to match those solutions to the needs of patients and staff.

Patient videos

One such innovative solution is the use of videos for patient information. At this time when patients are experiencing more remote interactions with health and care staff, patient information videos can be a useful tool to reinforce important information. They can help by:

  • supporting patients with the self-management of conditions, reducing the number of appointments needed.  
  • preparing patients for remote or face to face consultations so that more time during the appointment can be spent on treatment and care.
  • facilitating rehabilitation and recovery with fewer follow-up appointments.

Patients can easily be signposted to videos via digital communications, reducing the need for letters and leaflets. 

These are tools that can be used to  reinforce the vital education role that nurses play every day with patients, acting as a tool for information sharing as well as supporting a conversation with the patient about their condition.

Health and care videos available to NHS clinicians free of charge

As part of our response to COVID-19, NHSX has secured a national licence for NHS clinicians to access a library of over 600 health and care videos free of charge. The videos have been written by NHS clinicians and developed to work within care pathways. They have been professionally produced by Health and Care Innovations (HCI) for use by patients and have been independently, clinically assured by various NHS trusts. 

To support the use of the videos and video library, HCI have set up an online Resource Hub that provides guidance on how to share and use the videos in clinical specialties and pathways, to reduce demand as much as possible and to provide support to patients. The Resource Hub also offers a series of webinars which provide an introduction to the video library and information to enable staff to maximise the use of videos right across the health system. 

In the two months since the licence started, patient feedback has been very positive, with patients saying that they are: “so much better than a leaflet!” and “"a fantastically informative way of showing patients what to expect - it put my mind at ease. Seeing it makes it more real whereas if we were just told it would have been in one ear and out the other."

Clinicians have been resoundingly positive in their feedback too: “They are a great resource to be able to recommend to the patients and their carers to be able to watch or re –watch in the comfort of their own homes when there are less distractions. From our point of view it is really helpful to back up written and verbal advice with the videos as we feel there is more chance of information being absorbed."

The effect has been felt in busy clinics in particular: "The biggest benefit is that the patients really like the video and it saves us a little bit of time during the clinical sessions, meaning that we can be more productive. We don't get quite so many phone calls afterwards about what to do.”

I would encourage you to sign up to the hub, share this fantastic resource with your colleagues and think about how you can best use this free resource in your daily practice.