Hospitalwide education goes to the small screen

These paths come with a view

Case managers can educate hospital staff using videotape introductions to critical paths and case management, without spending millions for big Hollywood productions.

When pathway development committees at St. Mary's Hospital in Madison, WI, were looking for ways to introduce new critical paths to hospital staff, producing a video seemed to be the best method. So, the committee leaders turned to the hospital's community relations department's media artist, a staff member with experience in video production.

The video project first was proposed in December 1994 and completed in May 1995, and was coordinated with input from each pathway development committee, says Juliana Clausen, media artist for the 420-bed community hospital and producer of the video. Clausen works in the hospital's community relations department, which conducts marketing and public relations functions.

The video, which runs about seven and one-half minutes, was developed to help educate staff hospitalwide about case management and critical paths. The video was distributed in June 1995 to all departments in the hospital prior to the introduction of four critical pathways. "Basically, the video is an overview of what pathways are and how they are used in case management. It was designed so that staff not in a clinical area or directly involved in pathway use could get an idea of how they work," explains Clausen.

Clausen's script for the video was developed with the help of the education subcommittee of each pathway development team. The metaphor of a conductor and orchestra was used to demonstrate the similarities of a physician "conducting" care through the use of a critical path.

But St. Mary's video was no multimillion-dollar production. Instead, Clausen developed a multi-image slide show that was transferred to a VHS videotape. Although Clausen's budget of $1,300 ended up closer to $2,000 in costs, the finished product was still inexpensive, considering how frequently it is used. Costs included a soundtrack, reproduction rights for recorded music, and transferring the image to video format.

Instead of using expensive live-action shots, the hospital used a combination of medical and musical still shots which faded in and out on a black screen. The photography is accompanied by a classical music soundtrack. The video compares a critical path to a conductor's musical score. Much like a musical score, where each section of the orchestra is queued in and out of the composition, a critical path prompts each department of the hospital in their roles in caring for the patient, Clausen explains.

"Some of the photography was purchased from a professional photographer, but I did some of the photography and the narration, so we eliminated some of the production costs," says Clausen.

Best of all, the video can be shown to new employees during orientation as needed. Each department keeps a copy of the video either to show to new employees or to loan out for later viewing. "If, for example, a new employee missed the orientation, she could take the video to a conference room to view," adds Clausen.

In addition to the pathway orientation video, Clausen has produced videos for complying with federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations, and employee appreciation videos.

Copies of the video were distributed to affiliates in the hospital's network, but are not available for the public. Additional information regarding the production process, however, can be directed to Clausen at the hospital at 707 S. Mills St., Madison, WI 53715. Telephone: (608) 258-6104. *