CCTV only as effective as videos shown

Select films that cover needs of target population

When used correctly, closed circuit TV (CCTV) is the perfect teaching aid for harried staff who don’t have time to cover the learning needs of each patient. The secret to a successful channel is the selection of the videos.

The best videos for CCTV are those that contain routine information that has to be repeated frequently, she says. In that way, patients can watch videos on the CCTV system over and over until they have a firm educational foundation, and a staff member can follow up.

"When videos cover the basic information, that frees up the care provider to help the patient apply the information to his or her unique situation," explains Nancy Simpson, RN, MEd, CDE, manager of education for TeleHealth Services, a CCTV company based in Raleigh, NC. For example, newly diagnosed diabetics can watch a film on giving insulin, and the nurse can help them learn how to apply the techniques.

To make sure patients have the opportunity to see the videos frequently, patient education managers will have to schedule them several times a day, unless the hospital has a video on the demand system.

Following are several strategies patient education managers may want to use when selecting videos for their CCTV system:

Determine needs of patient group.

The videos you include in your CCTV line-up will depend on your patient population. If many of your hospital admissions are due to heart disease or diabetes, a lot of your videos will focus on these diseases and conditions. To determine what information is important to each population, review the literature, talk to clinical experts in the field, and ask the patients, says Simpson. Once you have determined your learning objectives, review each video to see if it covers two or three key points you want the patient to understand.

Preview the video.

Always ask to review the video before you purchase it, advises Marie Muskovin, MSN, RN, director of education at Lexington (NC) Memorial Hospital. Most companies will charge a small fee ranging from $25 to $50 for a preview and allow you to keep the video for a limited time, she says. Other companies will allow their videos to be previewed at no charge or require the purchase of the video with a money-back guarantee if the customer is not satisfied with the product. Preview videos usually have the words "preview copy" running across the middle or bottom of the screen so they can’t be copied.

"When you ask to preview a video, it is wise to have a clear understanding of the preview regulations," says Simpson. "Sometimes only the person ordering the video can view it. If you plan to show it to a number of focus groups, tell the distributor that this is the method you will use to preview the video. You must be clear on copyright violations."

Make sure the video is appropriate for culture and age range of the group.

"You must know your target audience," warns Simpson. If your hospital serves a large teen-age unwed mother population, a video that uses couples to demonstrate how to bathe a baby might not be suitable. Likewise, in a culturally diverse population, a video showing all white characters won’t work.

One way to make sure your video is suitable for your audience is to have it reviewed by a focus group or to solicit patient feedback in some other way. Have comment cards in the patient’s rooms or an 800 number patients can call with their input, suggests Simpson.

"CCTV should be continually evaluated. Get feedback on an ongoing basis so you know if you are hitting the mark," she says. (For information on using focus groups in a multicultural setting to develop patient education programs, see story, p. 95.)

Select short, to-the-point videos.

Videos work best if they are short — eight to 10 minutes — and focused on a single topic, says Simpson. For example, a patient education manager might select several videos on diabetes, each focusing on a particular aspect of the disease. Drawing up insulin and injecting it might be one video topic. Take your cue from television, advises Simpson. The half hour situation comedies break frequently for commercials; therefore, people are used to watching short segments.

Every aspect is important

Note similarities to your hospital.

If the equipment used in the video is different from that used at your facility, patients may not be able to make the connection.

"Some people are literal, so if there is too much equipment in the video that looks different from what we use, they can’t make the transition," explains Muskovin. Therefore, she compares the equipment in the video with that used at the hospital to make sure it is similar before she makes a purchase for her CCTV system.

Review content for clarity.

The technical quality of the video is important, says Simpson. If the information is fragmented, and the video does not progress logically, or if there are too many medical terms that aren’t explained, viewers will quickly lose interest, she explains.

Graphics should enhance the content as well. For example, a video on diabetes may show a pancreas, but the viewer has no idea where the organ is located in the body. However, if the pancreas is drawn in the body so the viewer can see where it is located, the graphic is more meaningful, she says.

When possible, let the patient tell the story.

Voice-overs are not as effective as having patients or health care providers talking, says Muskovin.

"In our patient education videos, I look for health care worker and patient interaction or a patient talking about the disease. I know a lot is scripted, and sometimes the patients are really actors, but there is a lot more credibility when the patient explains what something is like," says Muskovin.

Obtain rights to show video on CCTV.

When purchasing a video for CCTV, tell the distributor. Often there is a small fee of about $25 for the use of the video on the system, and some companies do not charge. Either way, sign a legal document for closed circuit television rights, advises Muskovin.

Make a copy

With many CCTV systems, including the one TeleHealth Services distributes, the master video is copied onto a two-hour tape along with several other videos.

"Not only is the patient education manager getting permission to distribute the video over a closed circuit television system, they are getting permission to copy it at the same time. We tell our clients that once they’ve made the copy, the original is kept as an archival copy and cannot be distributed in the hospital," says Simpson.

When purchasing a video, automatically ask for permission to show it on your closed circuit TV system, even if you are purchasing it for a different use, advises Simpson. It is much easier to put the video on your CCTV system later if an agreement is in the file. If the distributor charges an extra fee, you have to decide whether to pay the fee, even though you may never actually use the video on CCTV, she says.

Update videos regularly.

Videos need to be reviewed and updated about once a year as clothing and hairstyles change. Although the content of a video may still be valid, if hairstyles and clothes are out-of-date, people tend to discount the validity of the information, says Muskovin. Also, standards in medical practice may change, she explains.