GPs embrace YouTube to boost patient engagement

A trailblazing GP practice in Middlesex is using YouTube to boost communication with patients and potentially cut costs.

Dr Vijay (second left) and colleagues explain the move to YouTube
Dr Vijay (second left) and colleagues explain the move to YouTube

The Hillview Surgery has scrapped its website in favour of a free NHS Choices web presence, which links to its YouTube channel.

The practice believes the quick video messages it posts on the channel allow GPs to communicate with patients in a more effective way than mail-outs or a practice noticeboard.

Patients have taken part, recording their own videos. The practice plans to extend its online activity to Facebook and Twitter from next month.

Dr Shanker Vijay, a GP at Hillview Surgery, believes the approach will save the practice thousands of pounds and reach a wider mix of patients.

'Our logic is that setting up a website is costly, and it is not where patients look,' he said.

'Patients are not interested in visiting practice websites. But they do use Google and You Tube. We are trying to engage patients where they are.'

The practice is still sending information to patients in the post, but letters now include links to the YouTube channel.

Dr Vijay hopes that in two years the practice will be able to communicate with its patients mainly through text messages and YouTube.

He urged other GPs to copy the idea.

The practice is planning a fundraising conga in aid of Unicef next month. Donations can be made at: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/hillviewsurgery

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