‘Promoting the option for home treatment’
Home centred treatment regimes are an increasing priority for healthcare providers, policy makers, budget holders and patients. Yet in renal (kidney) failure replacement therapies, the option of home dialysis is accessed by less than 20% of the patient population, despite clinically accepted health welfare and economic benefits with especially low access levels amongst older patients aged 65+.
Imagen HealthTalk was asked to develop and manage a communications campaign promoting awareness of the option for and benefits of home dialysis to enable patients and care nurses to explore this option with their consultant clinicians.
‘Low priority for media and public’
Kidney failure is a complex and debilitating condition with an elderly patient profile that is a low priority for media and public. Clinical preference for hospital based treatment regimes has seen the number of patients presenting for home dialysis decline significantly over the last two decades. Low level awareness of the option for and benefits of home dialysis exists whilst for older patients opinion is compromised by reduced confidence to self-manage treatment regimes.
A fragmented and localised kidney patient network complicates audience reach, whilst national renal advocacy groups have often worked to different agendas.
what we did:
‘Leveraging local media channels and patient comms to access hard-to-reach audiences’
Imagen HealthTalk developed a simple but direct campaign identity ‘Dialysis Options’ to communicate the campaign’s core message and clearly target the dialysis audience. A patient website underpins the campaign, presenting a balanced profile of dialysis options endorsed by personal patient testimonies.
Advocacy and Patient Engagements
Recognising the important role of local kidney patient groups in communicating with dialysis patients, we identified and established contact with these groups nationwide. W ealso engaged the National Kidney Federation who supported media outreach and facilities communication with local kidney groups. Through these networks we were able to mneasure and monitor patient awareness, opinion and access to home treatment.
Local and regional media was key to reaching individual patients and patient groups in their resident treatment area, whilst prioritising UK regions with high renal patient population ensured maximum target audience reach and impact.
Coverage was secured by presenting the media with compelling human-interest stories supported by locally relevant disease profile and treatment data. We capitalised on developments in renal services provision and patient-focussed-care policy to generate media coverage about home access.
An annual health broadcast featuring renal consultants and patients was developed around World Kidney Day and syndicated to regional radio stations throughout the UK, whilst regular health calendar dates such as National Diabetes and Care Week were used to trigger opportunistic media relations.
what we have achieved:
‘In the last four years, Dialysis Options has engaged over 70% of the UK renal patient population and achieved 100% message penetration.’
Dialysis Options is now recognised and referred to by the renal community as a primary source of dialysis information, whilst the leading renal patient advocacy charity has now adopted access to the option of home dialysis as a cornerstone of their campaigning.
The Dialysis Options campaign has established links with 45 of the 70 local Kidney Patient Associations in the UK representing more than 70% of current dialysis patients. We have generated over 300 items of print media coverage and 31 live media broadcasts delivering 100% penetration for key messages on the availability and benefits of home dialysis.
Latest patient survey data reveals a substantial growth in awareness of home dialysis with 73% of all patient respondents, and 47% of those aged 65+ saying they are or would like to be considered for home dialysis compared to just 37% and 11% respectively in 2006.
There is now a demonstrable shift in opinion at national levels with recent policy pronouncements from the Renal Czar and Renal Association emphasising the need for greater patient access to home dialysis. NICE has also announced a review of its guidelines on PD/home dialysis in 2010.
‘Due to its inherent complexity, generalised patient profile and small segment size, renal medicine is traditionally a challenging area for a PR campaign. Despite this, Dialysis Options has succeeded in achieving considerable momentum. Clever use of media and linking with third party organisations have resulted in a demonstrable increased awareness of a complex disease and its treatment options.’
Head of Renal Marketing