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Making practice safer

Doctors.net.uk's digital campaign to raise awareness of Patient Safety First among secondary care doctors and nurses

Doctors.net.uk was commissioned by Patient Safety First to raise awareness of the campaign's key messages and associated interventions, and to drive measurable behavioural change in practice. The digital campaign consisted of dedicated content pages within Doctors.net.uk, containing evolving educational and interactive resources. It was targeted at all secondary care doctors and nurses. 19,155 doctors and 1,950 nurses interacted with online content. Of these, 31 per cent of doctors implemented an intervention, with 73 per cent discussing the content with colleagues.

Doctors.net.uk homepage

Doctors.net.uk created dedicated interactive pages on its website as part of Patient Safety First's campaign.


Challenge
The sponsors of Patient Safety First (PSF) required Doctors.net.uk, the UK's largest and most active network of doctors, to develop a digital educational programme designed to encourage the implementation of safer practices and to reduce harm in the secondary care setting.

Their objectives were to drive awareness and understanding of PSF and its key messages and initiatives by targeting relevant clinicians. They also sought to generate two-way engagement with PSF content and resources, and increase the uptake of specific interventions.

Solution
Doctors.net.uk developed a practical learning-based campaign that encouraged the audience to reflect and make rapid changes to practice by implementing the interventions showcased.

The seven-month digital programme incorporated a variety of elements, including dedicated content pages for the PSF campaign, within Doctors.net.uk, and a targeted engagement programme for four specific interventions.

Tools included downloadable PDF resources, clinical guidelines, intervention guides, case studies, hospital showcases, video content, an online forum, blog, and news and events resources. To ensure nurses were engaged, Doctors.net.uk also delivered a three-month integrated online programme via nursingtimes.net

Research which measured the behavioural impact on clinical practice was conducted, with monthly reporting enabling content to be refreshed, sustaining levels of engagement and repeat visits.

Results
Doctors.net.uk's campaign assessment showed that 31 per cent of visitors implemented a clinical intervention as a direct result, and 74 per cent actively assessed their own clinical practice.

On average, 46,000 doctors were exposed to the PSF's promotional messages each month. In total, 19,155 unique doctors interacted with content 39,344 times and 1,950 unique nurses interacted 3,400 times.

Precise targeting also enabled the tracking of users' seniority – a variable that was key to influencing up- and downstream advocacy. Data collection revealed 29 per cent of doctors engaged with the campaign were consultants and 74 per cent of the nurse audience were of senior grades. Overall, 73 per cent discussed the content with clinical colleagues, highlighting the prominent role that advocacy played in spreading the campaign messages.

Client verdict
The online campaign for Patient Safety First was 'highly commended' at the PM Society Digital Media Awards in 2010, winning praise from doctors and nurses alike.  

''Doctors and nurses are typically difficult to engage, but in targeting and tailoring by seniority and specialty, we have developed a campaign that has delivered rapid and accurate results, creating a lasting positive impact for patient safety across the country."
Murray Anderson Wallace, head of field strategy and communications for Patient Safety First

Case study details

Client: Patient Safety First
Agency: Doctors.net.uk
Campaign: Patient Safety First
Timescale: September 2009 to April 2010 

14th June 2011

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