In a climate that sees medical professionals operating under conditions of extreme uncertainty, gaining a willingness from them to assess proactively and further change areas of their practice requires a clear demonstration of the benefits – both to the patient and the clinician. 

Simon Grime, head of healthcare at the professional online network,, observes: “If we are to have any chance of securing implementation on the frontline, clinicians need to understand the positive benefits of NHS-led initiatives. Yet this objective relies on possessing a deep understanding of the issues facing specialties and then targeting and tailoring communications in a way that effectively addresses them.

“By addressing issues that are specific to specialties it is possible to rapidly and effectively empower clinicians to drive through the changes that are required to deliver against QIPP.”

It is this focus on targeting and tailoring that played an integral role in a recent digital Patient Safety First campaign which was a driver for both clinical review and the uptake of interventions to enhance patient safety across areas of specialty.

PSF is a national campaign for patient safety improvement in England, sponsored by the National Patient Safety Agency, the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, and the Health Foundation.

The vision of PSF was to create an NHS with no avoidable death or harm and it focuses on implementing safer practices to reduce harm from deterioration, critical care, perioperative care and high-risk medicines.

The organisation had limited success in the first year of its initiative in engaging frontline clinicians en masse and PSF recognised that clinical engagement was key to its overall success and that education presented the best opportunity to drive changes in clinical behaviour.

The objectives for the campaign were therefore to drive awareness of the PSF programme and associated interventions, to target relevant clinicians and drive awareness of the programme’s key messages and initiatives. PSF was also keen to generate two-way engagement with its highly relevant content and resources and therefore increase uptake of the specific interventions. launched, on behalf of PSF, a seven month engagement programme to raise awareness of the key programme messages and associated clinical interventions and to drive measurable behaviour change in clinical practice. The precise targeting and engagement of secondary care doctors was crucial to the success of the initiative. also partnered with to deliver a three-month integrated online engagement programme to engage, educate and change behaviour within a nursing audience.

The campaign included a variety of elements, such as dedicated content pages for the PSF campaign within and a targeted engagement programme for the four interventions, targeting key specialities and a general secondary care audience over a seven month period. Other elements were downloadable PDF resources, clinical guidelines, intervention resources, case studies, hospital showcases, video content, online forum, blog and news & events resource.

A practical, learning-based approach encouraged the audience to reflect and make rapid changes to their own practice by implementing one or more of the interventions showcased. Calls to action enabled the audience to interact with content relevant to their specific role.

The content was updated and refreshed on a monthly basis to sustain high levels of engagement and repeat visits with the target audience. Impact assessment research which measured the behavioural impact on clinical practice and the return on investment was conducted. Detailed reporting, on a monthly basis, enabled ongoing optimisation of the campaign.

Over the period of the campaign an average of 46,000 doctors were exposed to the PSF’s promotional messages each month.  In terms of engagement, a total of 19,155 unique doctors interacted with content 39,344 times and 1,950 unique nurses interacted 3,400 times.