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Raising the bar

Professional awareness case study: increasing awareness of the National Arms Length Body's (ALB) high volume care programme

The National Arms Length Body's (ALB) main objective is to 'improve health outcomes and raise the quality of delivery in the NHS by accelerating the uptake of proven innovation and improvements in healthcare delivery models and processes, medical products and devices and healthcare leadership.'

The Delivering Quality and Value programme is one of six current priority areas for the ALB, focusing on a number of high volume areas of care. These were mainly identified using Healthcare Resource Groups (HRGs).

HRGs are groups of clinically similar activities for which a similar quantity of resources is needed. Fifty HRGs account for 50 per cent of all NHS bed days, and a relatively small number of HRGs account for a large and disproportionate amount of NHS resource.

The ALB identified a number of high volume HRGs that they then developed into High Volume Care programmes, designed to improve the value and quality of clinical care.

 

A screenshot of the Doctors.net website
Content was updated and refreshed on a monthly basis to sustain high levels of engagement

 

Objectives
The ALB were aware that once the initial high volume care areas had been identified and the programmes established, communication was needed with the clinical audience required to make the programmes a success in terms of value and improvements in quality of care. Underlying communication challenges were:
• Significant communication to improve efficiency was required for doctors
• Engaging large numbers of doctors and delivering face-to-face training are expensive and complex
• There was a need to evaluate the most effective methods of engaging doctors with the information and resources required to make the programmes a success.

The ALB approached Doctors.net.uk to create an engaging awareness campaign to all member doctors, but with specific focus on target doctor specialities for specific care pathways.

Doctors.net.uk's task can be summarised as follows:
• Increase awareness of the ALB's high volume care programme, particularly within target doctor groups
• Create 16 separate programmes
• Change attitudes and practice behaviour with target doctors.

Tactics
Doctors.net.uk created:
• Dedicated content pages for the high-value care programmes
• A promotional campaign for 16 care pathways targeting GPs and specialities over a 12-month period
• Downloadable PDF resources
• Audio podcast interviews with key specialists for each programme.

The content was updated and refreshed on a monthly basis to sustain high levels of engagement with the target audience. Reporting on a monthly basis allowed for the ongoing assessment and optimisation of the campaign.

Research was also commissioned with Doctors.net.uk members to measure the impact on clinical practice with doctors. 

Results 
Doctors.net.uk was able to drive interaction levels way beyond the expectations of the ALB. Targeted at the general active member base of 72,000 and specifically at 1,026 ophthalmologists, the 'cataracts pathway' demonstrates the impact of the campaign:
• The content was visited by 7,297 doctors, 9,206 times
• 911 ophthalmologists (89 per cent of audience) interacted with the content
• The resource PDF was downloaded 1,120 times
• The podcast was downloaded 262 times.

Overall programme results:
• More than 40,000 doctors engaged with the content in a 12 month period
• The programme generated 161,000 clicks
• There were a total of 2,500 podcast downloads and 11,000 PDF downloads
• Huge month-on-month engagement growth.

Wider value to consider:
• What would the cost have been of reaching 40,000 unique doctors, via an offline medium such as face-to-face events?
• How much would it have cost to engage 8,500 doctors (who downloaded a resource PDF) with printed brochures and how would their interaction have otherwise been measured?

Evaluation
The impact on clinical care was one of the underlying aims of the programme. This was partly measured through a commissioned piece of research among Doctors.net.uk members. The results were astounding, demonstrating the real value delivered by the campaign:
• 21 per cent implemented a change to their own clinical practice as a result of the information
• 55 per cent assessed their own practice as a result of receiving the information
• 46 per cent of doctors passed on the information or discussed it with clinical colleagues.

 

Case study details

Client: The National Arms Length Body
Agency: Doctors.net.uk
Campaign: High volume care pathways
Timescale: Throughout 2008

3rd June 2010

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