Shared learning database

University Hospital Birmingham Queen Elizabeth
Published date:
January 2011

We have used a variety of electronic and media tools to promote patient awareness of hospital acquired VTE. This includes designing a patient video (available on youtube) electronic patient information on hospital bedside TV's, information on TV's in patient waiting areas and by publishing articles in trust magazines which are circulated to local patients. Traditional paper based information leaflets are also used and given to patients as part of the nursing discharge process and in pre-admission clinics.

This example was originally submitted to demonstrate implementation of NICE CG92. This has been updated and replaced by new NICE guidance NG89. The updated guidance should be referred to when replicating any aspect of this example. 

Does the example relate to a general implementation of all NICE guidance?
Does the example relate to a specific implementation of a specific piece of NICE guidance?


Aims and objectives

To improve patient awareness about hospital acquired venous thromboembolism (VTE) using a variety of electronic and paper based tools. A greater awareness would help reduce the risk of VTE by empowering patients to minimise risks through changes in behaviour and to question medical staff about their treatment. Offer information about the causes and prevention of hospital acquired VTE as recommended in NICE guidance.

Our objective was to inform patients using both traditional (paper based) information but also electronic forms of communication and using articles in trust magazines distributed to all foundation trust members

Reasons for implementing your project

Patient knowledge of VTE was low in a local trust audit, especially amongst medical patients. Traditional paper based written information is not always appropriate for patients and is expensive and potentially wasteful of material resources. Many patients are now confident in using the internet to access information and are comfortable with multi-media presentation of information

How did you implement the project

A multi-disciplinary trust thrombosis committee worked with the hospital trust communications team, the graphics department and the webmaster to design and implement multiple forms of patient communication.

  1. The communication department printed an article on hospital acquired VTE in the magazine 'trust in the future' circa 24,000 foundation trust members (mostly patients) with a cut out leaflet on recognising the signs and symptoms of VTE.
  2. We put rolling information on VTE on 'digital signs' - a network of TV's in patient waiting areas and 600 GP and outreach centres. We also introduced a screensaver on staff computer screens to raise awareness.
  3. We put patient information on the bedside TV screens which could be accessed for free. Information was broken down into topics requiring point and click interaction.
  4. Using funds from UHB charities, we designed and produced a patient information video which is available on the trust website and available for general viewing using the hospital youtube site ( 5. In addition to a patient leaflet available in pre-admission clinics ( we have decided to include a page of printed information in all nurse hospital discharges - which is work in progress.

Key findings

The uptake of electronic media is easier to assess than paper based materials. The uptake of information on bedside TV's can be logged by using a counter on each webpage (organised by the webmaster at no cost). For the first 3 months the viewing rates have been surprisingly low (approximately 3 per month inpatients and up to 100 views through external search engines). Patients were specifically questioned about why they didn't view the information pages based on this preliminary data and the common response was that they didn't use the bedside TV's because they assumed they would be charged. There is currently a campaign to inform patients about the free to access components on the bedside TV's using ward managers and nursing staff. The VTE information video has recently been released and has received almost 300 views at the time of writing. The web address for this site will be put on to all nursing hospital discharges in the near future so that patients are aware that it's available. We have received a comment on the video via a youtube user "This is soooo informative. I found it really useful for when my mum was in hospital... :)" We hope to receive more positive feedback over time. The impact of patient information on reducing hospital acquired VTE is difficult to evaluate as there are a number of additional interventions being developed, most importantly universal VTE risk assessment and improved pharmacological thromboprophylaxis.

Key learning points

Patients may be reluctant to use bedside TV's for information as they may be concerned that there is a cost involved. We have invested in producing a patient information video on hospital acquired VTE as nothing suitable was already available at the time. We have deliberately made this available on youtube so that other organisations could use this for patients at no extra cost ( Foundation trusts which produce a magazine may want to consider the merits of an article on VTE prevention in hospital aimed at their patient members. Putting electronic information on staff screensavers and patients area TV screens can be done with no material costs Developing a strategic approach to patient information requires collaboration between multiple stakeholders (eg thrombosis committees, trust communications team, webmasters and in the graphics department).

Contact details

Will Lester
Haematology Consultant
University Hospital Birmingham Queen Elizabeth

Tertiary care
Is the example industry-sponsored in any way?