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Stopping clots, saving lives

Case study: The Stop the Clot campaign aimed to raise awareness of the dangers of hospital-acquired blood clots, which kill as many as 32,000 people each year

Blood clots acquired in hospital are the largest cause of preventable deaths in the UK, killing as many as 32,000 people each year. That is more then 25 times the number who die from MRSA and more than the total combined deaths from breast cancer, AIDS and road accidents. Blood clots are easily prevented by ensuring all patients admitted to hospital have a simple blood clot risk assessment. The aims of the Stop the Clot pilot campaign were to raise awareness of the dangers of hospital-acquired blood clots; encourage everyone to request a risk assessment and so cut the unacceptable number of deaths from this silent killer. The campaign far exceeded expectations and is being considered by other healthcare providers.

Stop the Clot

Educating the public and driving behavioural change with 12 weeks of continuous media coverage

• To secure 12 weeks of coverage across the pilot area (East Midlands and East of England) that incorporated key messages and raised awareness of Stop the Clot in 70 per cent of the target population in the pilot region

• To increase the number of people requesting further information on how to prevent hospital-acquired blood clots from Anticoagulation Europe

• To demonstrate success such that, post-pilot, other strategic health authorities choose to run Stop the Clot.

Stop the Clot was a life-saving, public health education campaign developed through the partnership of the charity Anticoagulation Europe (ACE) with sanofi-aventis. It was directed at a highly targeted local population – identified as being influenced by public health messages and most likely to act upon what it hears – in a specific geographical region. 

Creative implementation:

• Individual briefings with local hospital thrombosis teams and production of interactive cascade toolkit

• Series of one-to-one meetings with local editors to promote genuine campaign partnership and generation of coverage in the same publications for 12 continuous weeks

• Securing campaign support from a range of newsworthy local people: sports clubs, MPs, mayors and local trust hospitals

• Generation of series of media tools: news releases, factsheets, template feature articles, 'hints and tips' on how to avoid getting blood clots in hospital and a series of survivor case studies to allow the local media to illustrate the human and emotive side to this life-saving campaign.

The media campaign in the pilot area reached over 18 million people and exceeded targets by almost 300 per cent. All articles mentioned Stop the Clot and included at least one key message. Eight per cent of target newspapers generated at least one article and 50 per cent generated at least four. Two main regional TV stations, six BBC and 15 independent local radio stations covered the campaign.

In addition, email enquiries to Anti­coag­ulation Europe about blood clot prevention rose by 40 per cent during the pilot, calls to its helpline increased by 15 per cent and hits to its website rose by 19 per cent. Action to reduce patients' risk of blood clots was also taken by local trusts, with 30 new blood clot prevention audits and eight new sets of thromboprophylaxis guidance being completed.

The campaign far exceeded expectations and is currently being considered for adoption by a number of healthcare providers.

Client verdict
"The PR agency managed to carefully involve local hospital managers and clinicians, which I believe had a huge impact on local motivation to drive for venous thromboembolism prevention. We already have a number of health authorities wanting to partner with us to run Stop the Clot in their locality – this is the best possible outcome."
Chris Fuller, brand lead, Thrombosis, sanofi-aventis

"News of the success of Stop the Clot rapidly spread outside the pilot area; information and literature requests from hospital managers outside of pilot area increased by 55%. This campaign has already left a legacy of improved blood clot prevention and I feel confident that, over time, Stop the Clot will also be shown to save lives."
Eve Knight, chair, Anticoagulation Europe

Case study details

Client: sanofi-aventis and Anticoagulation Europe
Agency: Packer Forbes Communications
Campaign: Stop the Clot: Don't be a Blood Clot Victim
Timescale: February to May 2009

10th June 2011


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