Quality Insights Produces Animated Videos to Engage Patients in Complex Healthcare Topics

Explaining complex healthcare topics to Medicare beneficiaries and their families can be challenging. As a result, Quality Insights identified an opportunity to use an online video platform to create short, educational and engaging messages. These animated videos provide patients, their families and caregivers with a better understanding of these important and complex topics.
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Quality Insights' animated videos address the topics of palliative care and the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit. 
Quality Insights coordinates Special Innovation Projects (SIPs) as part of its work as a Quality Innovation Network – Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Two of these projects - Palliative Care and Hospice Referrals for Heart Failure Patients and Increasing Annual Wellness Visit Utilization – recently used this animation method.

Timely palliative and hospice care has been proven to improve the quality of patient care, symptom management and satisfaction, while decreasing healthcare expenditures for patients experiencing serious disease. Anyone could need palliative care at some point in his or her life and the topic can be a tough thing to talk about with patients.  There are many misconceptions about this type of care, including the common misconception that it is the same as hospice care. 
Similarly, the Annual Wellness Visit is an important topic that many patients may not take as seriously as they should. Nearly 90 percent of Medicare beneficiaries visit a physician at least once a year, making an average of six visits during the year. In spite of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that only 33 percent of women and 40 percent of men aged 65 and over receive the full range of recommended age-specific preventive services.
The videos, which are promoted through Quality Insights’ website and social media platforms, address these important topics in an innovative way. In the video Palliative Care and Oranges: A Story about Managing Illness, patients learn how palliative care can assist them in managing chronic conditions. In the video Medicare’s Annual Wellness Visit: A Tune-Up for Your Body, patients learn about the importance of the Annual Wellness Visit and how it can assess where they are with their health, identify any potential health risks and determine necessary plans to keep their health on track.
Quality Insights has received multiple requests from  hospitals and supporting organizations to show these videos on facility TV systems.
“Patients sometimes watch videos with real people as actors and if they don't immediately feel a connection, they may tune out and discount the content,” Biddy Smith, Network Task Lead for Special Innovation Projects at Quality Insights, said. “The mindset may be - that person doesn't look like me; I'm not that old, I'm not that size, my skin isn't that color- so this video isn't going to help me."
Research suggests that many forms of video education are moving toward cartoons and animation. A reason for this could be that animations seem to steer the focus away from the actors in the video and put emphasis on the disease, procedure or the issue patients should learn about.  
With live actors, it’s often difficult to create a one-size-fits-all educational video. The next best thing is an animated character.  Many people can idenfity with animated characters because they provide a more general representation rather than reflecting specific types of people.
“I really think these videos do a great job explaining the concepts and doing so in a way that would help patients embrace the information,” Smith said. “The approach that these videos took with using animation is actually what makes them so valuable.” 

About Quality Insights’ Special Innovation Projects (SIPs)

Quality Insights coordinates four CMS Special Innovation Projects (SIPs).  These SIPs are quality improvement projects that align with the goals of the CMS Quality Strategy and emphasize the power of partnerships. These include Palliative Care and Hospice Referrals for Heart Failure Patients; Quality Improvement in Long-Term Acute Care Hospitals; Reducing Opioid Misuse and Diversion; and Increasing Annual Wellness Visit Utilization.
To view these videos and others, please visit Quality Insights’ YouTube channel. For more information about any of these projects, please contact Biddy Smith, Network Task Lead for Special Innovation Projects, at 304-346-9864 ext. 3252 or bsmith@qualityinsights.org.