Choosing your Channels
When choosing your channels, consider your audience and how they like to receive messages. Authenticity is key! Communicating through their preferred channels will help improve engagement with your campaign.
Think about which of your channels are most accessible for your audience. Your website, social media and other digital channels will be important when engaging with this group, but don’t forget that offline channels are also important for attracting a diverse group of people, particularly when they are visiting the organisation e.g. for appointments.
The channels you choose will depend on your budget and your objectives. Here are some channels to consider:
posters and leaflets – display in your waiting areas, other public spaces and at events, or supply to partner organisations
plasma screens in your waiting areas, receptions and other space
case studies, newsletters, magazines and newspapers
media - local TV news, radio and newspapers
promotional items such as display banners and staff t-shirts.
To get the key messages across consistently, use a range of communication channels. You should also engage communications teams in your partnership organisations and ask them to cascade information via their channels and networks.
Spreading the word: internal communications (sample copy)
Don’t forget to make use of your internal communication channels. Your colleagues and staff members are great spokespeople for your organisation, so it is important to bring them on board. Here is some copy for your internal communications channels:
One person, One record - real-time patient information is now at your fingertips!
Health and care fit for the future of [name of your region]
[Name of organisation] is introducing an exciting new system aimed at giving our clinical teams access to complete patient health records, whilst sharing valuable information with our patients, their family, carers, and their extended health and social care teams.
The service is being rolled out in partnership with our partner and UK-based Personal Health Records provider, Patients Know Best (PKB).
From [insert date], patients will be invited by letter to register and access their PKB health record. It is part of our organisation-wide commitment to empower patients to actively self-manage their health. Not only can patients access important information such as their appointment letters and test results, but they can also use a range of tools designed to help them better understand and monitor their condition. This will help us to care for our patients more effectively and create much-needed capacity and savings for our organisation.
Help us to register patients
Patients will be sent an invitation letter offering them the opportunity to access their health record. Please encourage them to complete the registration process so, together, we can make health and care services fit for the future of [region].
To learn more about the features and benefits of this new system, click here [link to intranet/source of further info] or email [contact person at organisation].
Internal communication channels to use
Brief support staff
There’s nothing more frustrating for patients than encountering a brick wall or speaking to a member of staff who is unable to point them in the right direction. This, along with an unclear process for registration, is enough to put patients off or make them lose interest in completing their registration. All support staff – from reception teams to switchboard staff and the Patients Advice and Liaison team – should be thoroughly briefed about the roll-out. This will help them to answer any questions from patients and support them to resolve any issues quickly. This briefing information can be tailored to your organisation and shared with support staff.
Where are your staff based? When choosing your channel, consider who your audience is and how they like to receive messages. Communicating through your staff’s preferred channels will help to increase awareness and improve engagement with the campaign.
Consider staff shift work and when they are most likely to receive the information. Staff who work night shifts may miss staff briefings during the day, for example, so make sure they receive the same messaging using an appropriate channel.
Enlisting Clinical Champions
Working with Clinical Champions provides the opportunity to reach doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals – who are in a unique position of trust to be able to advise patients for whom small improvements using supported self-management with PKB could make a significant change. This can make a particular difference to people with disabilities and long-term conditions, who rely on clinical interventions to manage their symptoms.
Statistics are an effective way of grabbing your audience’s attention and using localised data to make your message relevant to them. Use the following stats throughout your communications to help your patients and staff better understand the importance of using Patients Know Best. You should also use local stats to help your audiences engage with the information.
Make the information visual so it stands out - animation can work really well!
Ensure information is displayed in areas where there is a constant flow of patients, e.g. entrances, waiting areas and even public toilets!
Case studies and the importance of personal stories
Using stories, positive quotes and testimonials can help your staff relate better to your key messages. Sharing good practice case studies also provides practical solutions and ideas for implementing PKB amongst different teams. Case studies are highly-effective as a storytelling tool. You can provide an in-depth analysis and share compelling personal stories which help audiences to understand a particular problem and how it has been resolved. The personal insights also help to give legitimacy and trust to your programme.
Every story has a beginning, middle and end. A case study also needs to follow a narrative that people can understand while also learning about the value of your deployment. Since case studies are longer and more in-depth, proper planning is key. When drafting your case study, the following components need to be included:
Title: Stick with short or catchy titles. You can also state your achievements explicitly here.
Summary/overview: This should give a brief overview of the problem and show how you provided the solution (i.e. PKB).
Problem: An in-depth look at the initial problem. What was wrong? What have you tried before?
Solution: An explanation of how you addressed the problem. What is different this time? Why is this more effective?
Results: Evidence that shows how this has helped patients/ healthcare professionals/ local healthcare economy. Think of this as a 'before and after' scenario.
Call to action: You should include a couple of sentences that relate back to the start with a final paragraph which encourages people to take an action, whether that is to register, learn more or get in contact.
Our 10-Year eBook, Celebrating 10-Years of Patients Know Best, showcases some of our most memorable success stories. It also illustrates the different ways a story can be told. Further examples can also be found on our website here.
Spreading the word: external communications
See below for some proposed copy for your external website:
Other external communications channels to consider
Local media (see sample press release)
Short video on plasma screens in waiting areas, canteens and entrances
Advertising (i.e. on transport, in shopping centres, etc)
Patient groups - cascade messages via local third sector and voluntary groups, e.g. HealthWatch, Carers UK, patient participation groups, etc.
Department or team deployments
Where your deployments will be completed gradually on a team-by-team or departmental basis, it’s important to ensure your communications are appropriately targeted. This requires a more focussed campaign as you will need to be more specific about how PKB will benefit their patient cohort. For example, a Gastroenterology team may use PKB to monitor flare-ups for patients with inflammatory bowel disease, in which case this should be made clear, and relevant information and support should be provided to help patients understand how they can do this.
Training and support for patients needn’t become a cumbersome task! A simple 2-minute video recorded on a smartphone by a health or care professional e.g. consultant, nurse, or team leader, can be used to explain the process in a few easy steps. You can then upload this to the patient’s record (under 'Library') or post a link on your website.