CAMPAIGNS: Heavy breathing exercise at Boots - Health Education

The role of the pharmacist in patient care and information is a developing one. No longer mere prescription processors, they advise on the use and application of medicines and have become so much more accessible that they are often the first port of call for minor ailments.

The role of the pharmacist in patient care and information is a

developing one. No longer mere prescription processors, they advise on

the use and application of medicines and have become so much more

accessible that they are often the first port of call for minor

ailments.



Boots the Chemist aimed to draw attention to the pharmacist as

information provider. In the first of a series of initiatives focusing

on the management of chronic conditions, it chose asthma for a 1996

patient care initiative, kicking off in National Asthma Week starting 7

October.



Objective



To develop and publicise information and advice available from Boots on

asthma, to enable the pharmacist to complement that given by GPs and to

improve overall patient care.



Tactics



Greenlines, a specialist in healthcare communications, was appointed to

develop the Boots ’Living With Asthma’ concept. It produced a supporting

video and range of literature comprising an application to join the

programme, information leaflets targeting adults and parents of children

with asthma, an illustrated children’s book, and a quarterly

newsletter.



Editorial content was developed with an advisory group, including the

Doctors in Asthma group, a hospital consultant and the National Asthma

Campaign, organisers of National Asthma Week. The creative emphasis of

the programme was on enjoying life to the full by managing your own

health.



Boots appointed key pharmacists as area co-ordinators and sent them a

’Living With Asthma’ pack, with briefing and display guidelines, and a

presentation kit for local events at clinics or schools. Publicity

material was distributed in early October and a helpline set up for

people joining the programme.



Boots’ in-house PR worked on creating pre-awareness of the programme,

focusing on topicality for national press and ongoing issues for women’s

and consumer press.



For regional publicity, major stores received press kits to promote

individual in-store activity during National Asthma Week, such as ’test

your inhaler technique’.



Results



Boots distributed 750,000 information booklets to its stores and more

than 30,000 people signed up to the programme, exceeding the initial

target by more than70 percent.



Boots says the helpline has had a steady stream of callers, while

feedback from Boots pharmacists indicates a marked increase in the

number of people seeking information on medical issues.



Press coverage of the programme to date includes the News of the World,

the Mirror and the Daily Mail, over 100 mentions in the regionals, and

consumer titles such as Family Circle, Zest and Good Housekeeping.

Broadcast exposure includes items on Central TV news and around 20

regional radio stations.



Verdict



With three million sufferers in the UK and the condition becoming more

prevalent, especially in children, asthma was a good choice for Boots to

demonstrate its commitment to taking a lead in health education. Repeat

prescriptions mean that asthma patients see the pharmacist far more than

the doctor, and as long as the pharmacist is only there to reinforce

messages, the Boots initiative has the support of medical professionals.

As Janis Churton of Boots says: ’Pharmacists’ level of knowledge is

extensive and they will always refer people to their GP if necessary,

but the ’Living With Asthma’ programme has established a level of

confidence and an atmosphere in which they feel comfortable asking

questions.’



Client: Boots the Chemist

PR Team: In-house/Greenlines Healthcare Communications

Campaign: Living with Asthma

Timescale: Six months to October launch and ongoing

Cost: Undisclosed



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