Managing Your Practice

Using videos to educate your ObGyn patients

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Enhancing patients’ understanding of the care they need while improving the efficiency of your practice? Easy-to-produce digital videos and ancillary materials can do just that.

In this article

• Producing a patient education video
• Videos and medical-legal protection
• Patient questionnaire post-video viewing



Patient barriers to optimal health-care outcomes are well documented. According to a 2003 estimate from the National Center for Education Statistics, 9 in 10 individuals do not know how to adequately access information readily available for their own health care.1 A December 7, 2013, report in Modern Healthcare stated, “When patients are in doctors’ offices, they (might) hear 50% of what’s being said and maybe their relative hears another 30%, but they walk away without 20%.”2

In addition, patients often do not fill or refill their prescriptions. More than 31% of about 37,000 prescriptions written in a primary care setting for nearly 16,000 patients were not filled.3 Reasons may be poor health literacy, a medication’s expense, or disappointment with lack of drug efficacy. In a 2010 Commonwealth Fund survey, 23.1% of US patients reported not filling a drug prescription in the previous 12 months due to cost,4 and in 2012, 27% did not follow through with recommended testing or treatment.5

On the physician side, the advent of managed care, electronic health records, and requirements to document extraneous information have shortened “face time” with patients. This means less time to educate patients about their conditions and treatments. And patients who have insufficient information may have trouble adhering with recommendations and experience unsatisfactory outcomes.

Using focused patient-education videos can help you circumvent in-office time constraints and inform patients of their conditions and your recommendations, thereby increasing practice efficiency and improving patient outcomes. There are certain considerations you should keep in mind when implementing and executing videos for patients.

Planning your video
With videos, you can convey to patients the exact message you want them to receive. This is far more effective and more appreciatedthan videos distributed by pharmaceutical companies and vendors of equipment used in your office or hospital. If you do not have the time to create patient videos, purchasing professionally created videos could be worth the cost; however, those created by physicians are far better and can be a source of enhanced communication when patients see their own physician on the screen discussing the condition, procedure, or medications prescribed.

We suggest selecting topics you regularly discuss with patients. If the topic of prolapse arises several times a day or week, a video presentation about it would be appropriate. Other topics of interest to gynecology patients are shown in the TABLE. The topics included are those that many of our colleagues find that they discuss with patients frequently and are in need of an instructional video.

Example video topics for patient viewing
• Evaluation of urinary incontinence
• Recurrent urinary tract infection
• Infertility evaluation
• Options for hysterectomy
• Management of menometrorrhagia
• Contraception options (including bilateral tubal ligation)
• Pros and cons of hormone replacement therapy
• Breast self examination

One of us (NB) likes to select topics that are receiving lots of publicity. For example, when flibanserin was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2015 and patients were asking about it, we created a video with a handout that summarized the drug’s actions and its adverse effects and that emphasized the precaution about using flibanserin in conjunction with alcohol.

Production elements
The script.

  • Define the problem/condition
  • Offer how the problem is evaluated
  • Discuss treatment options
  • Go over risks and complications
  • Include a summary.

Embedding details of these bullet points into a PowerPoint presentation can serve as your teleprompter. Each video might end with the statement, “I hope you have found this video on <name of topic> informative. If you open the door at the end of the video, I will return to the examination room and provide you with a summary of the <topic> and answer any questions you may have.” We refer to this as the “sandwich technique,” in which the physician interacts with the patient first and performs the examination, invites the patient to watch the video, and returns to the room to conclude the patient visit.

The recording device. Recording can be accomplished easily with technology available in nearly every ObGyn office. You can use a video camera, the webcam on your computer, or a smart phone (probably the easiest choice). The quality of video created with the Apple, Samsung, or Motorola devices is excellent. The only other piece of equipment we recommend is a flexible tripod to hold the phone. Several such tripod stands are available for purchase, but the type with a flexible stand can be beneficial (FIGURE 1). These are available for purchase on Amazon.

FIGURE 1 Our recommended tripod stand

The TriFlex Mini Phone Tripod Stand, available for purchase at retailers and at Amazon (

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