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February 6, 2024

Animated videos to improve patient information about breast cancer surgery

  • New videos at Bolton’s Breast Unit aim to improve patient information
  • Animations explain treatment information and risks and benefits in an accessible way
  • Content designed to improve understanding before patients consent to treatment

The Breast Unit at Royal Bolton Hospital is trialling new animated videos to improve patient information about surgical procedures for breast cancer.

Funded by Our Bolton NHS Charity, the twelve-month pilot will provide patients with access to online videos by ‘Explain My Procedure’, which explain different breast operations, their benefits and risks, and any alternative management options.

The videos have been created to empower patients with information about breast cancer surgery.

The animations are not meant to replace communication between patients and their medical team, but to be an additional information tool for patients to use at home.

Each year, an average of 450 patients are diagnosed with breast cancer at Bolton Breast Unit and undergo mastectomy (removal of the breast) or wide local excision (removal of part of the breast).

The animations will play an important role in ensuring patients and their families have the information they need to fully under understand their treatment options.

Clare Garnsey, Consultant Breast Surgeon at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, said:

We pride ourselves on the trust and strong relationships we build with all of our patients during what can be a really emotional and challenging time in their lives.

“Receiving a cancer diagnosis is very upsetting, meaning the information we give patients in the clinic may not always be fully absorbed.

“We hope these videos will be a useful tool for patients to use at home to watch as many times as they like, in order to better understand their treatment options.

The videos will also be used to educate and train staff, as well as nursing and medical students who carry out placements on the unit.

The information and animations in the videos aim to improve accessibility to medical information that can be complex, and so far have been used by more than thirty NHS Trusts.

Professor David Wald, Founder and Creator of Explain My Procedure, the company who make the patient information videos, said:

We are delighted to be supporting Bolton NHS Foundation Trust Breast Unit.

“Our animations are designed to improve patient understanding before consent to treatment and have resulted in about a three-fold increase in complete understanding of procedures, the intended benefits, possible risks and alternative options. This has led to a 70% reduction in complaints and a 56% reduction in cancellations, benefiting patients and hospitals in one go.

“The biggest reward has to be the patient appreciation. One patient, said after watching an animation before her procedure, “for the first time I felt in control of what was happening to me”. Empowering patients to make the right choices is what matters most. I am personally excited to see how the Bolton experience unfolds and look forward to seeing similar positive impact and improvement in the patient experience.

Sarah Skinner, Charity Manager at Our Bolton NHS Charity, added:

Our mission as a charity is to fund projects and initiatives that make a meaningful difference, and we hope that by funding this pilot our patients will feel empowered when it comes to making decisions about their treatment.

For more information about Bolton’s Breast Services, please visit Bolton NHS Foundation Trust’s website.

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