Using Facebook to support the Breast Screening Service

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Case Study Summary
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Overview summary:
Nationally there is a decline in prevalent ladies attending for Breast screening and engaging with services. We created a Facebook page as an alternative innovative method of engaging with local communities, with the aim of targeting prevalent ladies. This is delivered as a practitioner-patient communication platform that informs, influences, and motivates cohorts to make better health decisions to improve cancer outcomes. Positive peer to peer encouragement has resulted in hard to reach ladies engaging with services.
Challenge identified and actions taken :
Through the use of Facebook and publishing community posts to the wider community networks, we are highlighting and promoting the breast awareness message and the importance of early detection through screening, thus improving cancer outcomes. We have established a positive conversation with targeted community cohorts, therefore enabling and empowering women to make informed choices. These posts are breaking down a number of barriers, including organisational and misrepresentation barriers and are resulting in behavioural changes towards Breast screening. On updating specific screening information, we are able to encourage engagement and advice on correct pathways to the service.

In targeted areas, engagement posts are published at regular intervals, to prompt ladies of their appointments.

We have identified that there is a misconception in the over 70’s being entitled for Breast screening. This is highlighted in each engagement post.

During the creation process, I encountered a number of organisational barriers and concerns. The implementation of the digital strategy had to adhere to all trust policies.
Impacts / outcomes:
These initiatives have resulted in two large village practices having an increase in the overall uptake rate in 2017, compared to 2014. With a large increase in prevalent ladies attending from both practices. It was also noted that the number of ‘A’ symptomatic cancers diagnosed with the screening service in 2017 was double compared to 2014. The Facebook engagement initiatives have resulted in uptake amongst the prevalent and incident cohorts and therefore improved cancer outcomes.

Nationally we have the largest number of followers out of all the Breast Screening services, this currently stands at 1,172. On average, the monthly reach of published post is 37,464, with a high proportion of this being organic.

The animation of the breast screening pathway, which is understandable to all health literacy levels and is also culturally sensitive has been viewed over 26k times.
Improved digital communication and engagement methods have resulted in a number of perpetual non-attender ladies making direct contact over the page. With the practitioner-patient conversation, individuals then felt empowered to make a positive behavioural change and attend for their screening invitations.
Supporting quote for the innovation from key stakeholders:
From patients

“If I had not seen the post on Facebook, I would not of asked or checked myself because where else can we women go. You only go to the doctors if you’re ill and even then you are in two minds.”

“I saw the post and knew that mum was due screening but hadn’t heard anything from the doctors so we got in touch, which was very easy. We’ve both discussed that neither of us were particularly aware and rarely or never checked ourselves so we’ve definitely become more aware now.”

“It made me chase up a missed appointment.”

“It certainly got myself, family and friends chatting about screening and checking. I think personally ladies are more likely to check themselves after seeing social media or TV ad’s nowadays.”

“Really pleased to find a contact for queries regarding breast screening. I have had great difficulties in the past accessing breast screening due to BRAC+ status and having ovarian cancer. I am more than pleased that I can say I can message someone and not have to go through switchboard trying to find a department who may be able to answer queries and offer support/advice. Thank you.”
Which local or national clinical or policy priorities does this innovation address:
To enhance national cancer screening uptake and to reduce mortality rates. • To optimise the likelihood of effectiveness of cancer treatment from early identification • Enhancing digital health literacy • To promote health behavioural changes • To endorse the breast awareness message • To minimise cost of cancer treatment for the NHS
Plans for the future:
To explore further avenues in engagement and awareness, with a particular focus on hard to reach groups.

A video of the patient pathway is currently in production, this will feature local ladies who were diagnosed through our screening service. This video will deliver a powerful message within the local community in that through early diagnosis with the Breast screening service, mortality rates from Breast cancer are greatly reduced and quality of life is increased.
Tips for adoption:
Perform mapping exercises and identify relevant community pages and closed groups, they normally have a large following with regular engagement and interaction within the group. Write an editorial article and get this published on the main news feed, informing and encouraging ladies to make contact with any queries or concerns.
Contact for further information:
Gina Newman
Health Improvement Practitioner
Breast Care / Breast Screening
County Hospital
Weston Road
ST16 3SA
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