Patient safety in surgery: creating a case for change
In early 2023 ZPB Associates worked with the Proximie team to start an important conversation about patient safety in surgery. We wanted to increase awareness of declining standards and the need for reform amongst healthcare policy and decision makers, and surgeons. We also wanted to highlight how transformative digital technology can drive improvement.
Our campaign was developed and launched against a backdrop of significant NHS operational and performance pressures. Every day the national newspapers were full of stories of poor patient safety and performance. If we were to add surgical safety to this growing laundry list of problems, then we would need to have a compelling story to tell. One built on insight and evidence.
We decided to use three key routes to gathering this insight. Firstly, analysis of existing NHS data to show decline over time, secondly qualitative insight from key opinion leaders and finally a new survey of patients to understand the safety concerns that they have.
The rich data that we generated allowed us to produce an original white paper which clearly articulated the issues we had identified. To help us develop our narrative, we brought together key opinion leaders and campaigners from the patient safety space as co-authors.
Finally, our paper included clear recommendations about how to address some of these issues.
We launched our report with a multi-channel communications campaign. We created engaging social media materials, based on our most impactful statistics, and developed direct marketing materials, which we shared with our target audience of healthcare leaders and surgeons.
We also wanted our campaign to reach a broad national audience via the press. To capture the attention of the media, we needed to create strong media materials that presented surgical safety as an urgent issue, on par with prevalent stories such as ambulance delays and cancer waiting lists.
We created targeted pitches that drew out the strongest statistics from our whitepaper, supported by strong spokespeople quotes. This enabled us to secure coverage in key target publications including The Times and on Sky News.
Key campaign stats
over 100 thousand people viewed key campaign activity
total reach of 18.5 million people
high profile coverage in The Times and on Sky News TV
Three-fold increase in social media conversations about patient safety in surgery
campaign materials shared by key patient safety organisations, campaigners and surgeons
Preventx positioned prominently within patient safety conversation on social media
Increased social media conversation about the role of digital in improving patient safety