Patient information online: Producing an online video with patient information

Nicola Forgham-Healey and Hannah Wood
North Somerset Healthcare Library
Weston General Hospital
Grange Road
BS23 4TQ

At Weston Area Health Trust, our Library Service manages all the eLearning for the Trust.  We are responsible for supporting staff with their online training. We are also responsible for the creation and the sourcing of any relevant eLearning material to meet the needs of our organisation. 

We were approached by a consultant and a junior doctor, who asked if we could create a video for patients on the use of incentive spirometry. This is a new procedure which patients are encouraged to undertake to help them prepare for surgery.

The consultant had seen several YouTube videos which explained the procedure. More crucially, the videos instructed patients on how to use the device when they are at home.  The consultant wondered if we were able to produce a similar video to provide the same information to patients on how to use the equipment. This would allow patients to view the video at home, if they wanted to refresh their memory and knowledge of the procedure. We agreed that the video should include two people; a doctor and a physiotherapist.

The software we normally use for creating eLearning material is Articulate Storyline; it allows you to upload and utilise video and audio files.  I had recently attended a CPD session, which was run by eLearning colleagues which instructed on how to create a good quality video, simply using your iPhone.

I told the consultants that we would be able to support this project. As this was the first time the Library had undertaken a project like this, we suggested that a couple of videos should be filmed.

Initial meeting

The initial discussions outlined the information we needed to include, as well as a running order and script.  A script was necessary, as it allowed all parties to know exactly what was going to be said. A script can also be rehearsed, which allowed the doctor and physiotherapist to speak confidently in front of the camera and deliver the necessary information.  It was a short meeting, and everyone had tasks to take away and work on.

First recording

Although we would have liked this to be the first and only recording, there were a couple of issues with the first recording. These problems have been highlighted below, so that they can be avoided in the future.

For the first recording, we did not use a microphone or a tripod. I brought in my iPad and my iPhone, as I had downloaded a recording app, which would record the sound separately from the film. This was not particularly useful and turned out to be quite burdensome; I needed to hold the camera, and not having a tripod, my hands were full. One person had to press the record button before we could start. This caused an additional problem, as you could see the person looking down to press record on the film. This, you might be thinking, shouldn’t be a problem. However, cutting the film afterwards to ensure that both film and recording matched satisfactorily was impossible. Although the sound recorded, when we played the film on Storyline it was far too quiet.

Although we had a script, we did deviate from it in a few sections, so when the first rough draft was created, there was uncertainty about the way in which parts of the procedure were described. It was agreed that a few scenes needed to be filmed again.

Second take

I decided that before the next take, I would get a microphone and a tripod. It made a wonderful difference, as the tripod allowed me to easily move the phone around and see what was being recorded. This made the phone perfectly still; it was a lot easier on my arms as well! We recorded with microphones which easily clipped onto clothes. That had two positive results; the first being that the sound was of a much better quality. The second was that it allowed the presenters to move around and relax more while they were being filmed. There was a slight issue with scripting again. We had to make a small change to some wording, and this was accomplished by adding an extra slide and using a voiceover. This was much quicker and easier to do than re-filming another scene.

Correct software

Once we had completed the filming, we uploaded the video with the recording into Storyline. We made the necessary adjustments to the film.

I soon realised that it was not possible to upload this particular type of ‘output’ from Storyline into YouTube. After a couple of Google searches, I found an alternative software called Articulate Replay. A colleague happened to have a spare user licence, luckily! Once installed, I was able to upload the recordings and merge them together to create the video. This was far quicker than it was to complete the video in Storyline. The film was published using the correct file format. Colleagues in the Communication Department then uploaded the finished recording to the Trust’s YouTube account. The finished version can be found at


The video has been presented to colleagues and it has been very well received. It is now being shown to patients in a pre-op clinic, and at time of writing it had been viewed 55 times. The potential impact is that patients will use the incentive spirometry device more often in preparation for their surgery, and that patient recovery time will reduce. We are planning to do a study on what impact the video has had on patient care in the near future.

Our top tips for creating a video

  • Have a suitable microphone. If you are recording two people, get a two-person microphone. Check to make sure that the microphone can be plugged into your phone, or whatever hardware you plan to use.
  • Ensure that the room in which you are filming in has natural lighting and ask your presenters to stand next to, or near, a window. Alternatively, you could get a lightbox!
  • Invest in a tripod. This will ensure that the filming is steady and the camera will be easier to move. It’s also a lot easier on the arms!
  • Have a script signed off by all interested parties. This will save time from having to re-shoot if some wording is incorrect or unclear.
  • Check that your software is suitable for the purpose which you want to use it for.
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