Operations go on YouTube

By Chloe Johnson

Live footage aims to ease patient anxiety and demystify medical procedures

Ian Ingham (right) and urologist Peter Gilling.
Ian Ingham (right) and urologist Peter Gilling.

A major hospital has been posting footage of operations on YouTube in an attempt to reduce patient anxiety.

So far Tauranga Hospital has filmed three "live" medical procedures to post on the internet for the world to view.

It is believed to be the first hospital in New Zealand to offer patients an insight into different procedures through social media.

Bay of Plenty District Health Board digital platform manager Kimberley Bray said the videos were part of a "Patient Experience Series" initiative to guide patients through procedures from consultation to operation and recovery.

"The idea was to demystify medical procedures and reduce that level of anxiety, making them feel comfortable in the hospital environment," Bray said. "A lot of people don't read information any more. They are more likely to watch a video."

The videos include a gallbladder removal and a heart procedure. The next to go online is a prostate surgery, Bray said.

The newly created digital team of four has also made information videos including where to park - the most popular so far with 801 views.

Head of Bay of Plenty's clinical school and urologist Peter Gilling said filmed procedures had been used for 20 years to educate medical students, but not the public.

He said cameras in theatre increased the stress and pressure for some surgeons. But, he said, that was not necessarily a bad thing.

"There is research that suggests the outcomes of patients who take part in filmed procedures get better treatment," Gilling said.

"It raises the stress on the surgeon involved, so surgically speaking you're on your best behaviour."

He said patients were asked if they would like to be filmed and given a written consent form, which they could withdraw at any time.

Other health boards such as Waikato, MidCentral, Waitemata and Counties Manukau use YouTube to show the hospital environment, but not medical procedures.

On camera under knife

Retired farmer Ian Ingham doesn't know much about social media and he has never seen YouTube.

But the 75-year-old has agreed to have his prostate surgery available for everyone to view.

For five years, Ingham suffered from prostatic hyperplasia, an enlarged gland that made his life miserable.

"I was getting up every two hours in the night, and there was not a great quantity of flow," Ingham said. "The symptoms were slowly getting worse and worse."

Ingham, from Mt Maunganui, was one of the first patients treated by a new robotic surgical device at Tauranga Hospital in January. He was impressed with the technology that helped him get his life back.

The footage of Ingham's surgery is still being edited and isn't yet online.

Click here to see a gall bladder surgery.

- Herald on Sunday

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