July 2, 2018 | It all started with a visit to a local pharmacy.
Seth Heldenbrand, Pharm.D., the College of Pharmacy’s associate dean of experiential education and an associate professor, was picking up a new prescription and noticed that with a simple click of a box he had opted out of drug counseling by the pharmacist.
On his way home, he started wondering how many patients unknowingly forgo such counseling — and how many of them have questions about their medicine later. Was there some way to help them?
Then it hit him — what if his students made YouTube videos with pharmacist-level counseling for those patients who have questions about their medications?
In the fall of 2016, Heldenbrand and Eddie Dunn, Pharm.D., associate professor, offered an elective in which six or seven students wrote patient counseling scripts for the 200 medications most often filled at pharmacies. Those scripts were then edited by Heldenbrand and Dunn.
Then in the spring of 2017, Heldenbrand and another group of students worked with Creative Services to shoot the videos. Students Matt Garner and Mariam Khan took the lead in making the videos – coordinating the students who were speaking on the videos, double-checking the scripts, filming and directing the videos, Garner said.
“We even appeared in the videos when we ran out of other students to record,” said Garner, who had prior experience as a sideline reporter for high school football games and as a color commentator for basketball games. “We really did everything from top to bottom.”
The next step was finding someone who could edit video, said Heldenbrand.
Enter Zach Smith, a student who had previously worked at KLRT Fox 16, producing daily news segments. Smith took on the job of editing and producing the videos, and since the fall of 2017, has produced more than 100 videos.
On Feb. 23, the videos were uploaded to the UAMS COPmedia YouTube channel.
The response has been incredible, said Heldenbrand. Since the videos launched, the channel has had more than 60,000 views. Even better, those that click on the videos stay and watch — viewers have spent nearly 70,000 minutes on the channel during that same period.
“We have been delighted with the number of people who have tuned in to our videos,” said Heldenbrand. “I think our students really filled a need for understandable prescription information online.”
The videos will also be added to the UAMS Patient Learns website when it relaunches later this summer.
Both Garner and Smith said they were pleased with the final product.
“When you think about all the people who were involved — from the students who wrote the scripts, to the students who were the performers, then to the back end with Zach producing — it really shows a lot of talent by the students here at UAMS,” said Garner.
Smith said he hopes patients gain as much benefit from watching the videos as the students did from making them.
“I hope these videos are an important resource for patients who can refer back to them as a quick guide if they forget something about their medication,” he said. “I think having this level of open, friendly and factual communication about medicine is extremely important to improving patient care.”