Abstract Title | Not another NHS website! Challenges of developing a new offer in a crowded marketplace


  1. Stephen Lloyd-Smart
  2. Henry Fuller
  3. Sarah Kaufmann
  4. Margaret Ward


Social Networking




Medical Education Leeds


Medical Education Leeds has spent 2 years developing a web presence and identity. Our presentation discusses the barriers we have faced and overcome during this period and how we have tailored our online offer to provide Junior Doctors with a useful range of resources.

This project was undertaken to support our work around our Framework for Technology Enhanced Blended Learning(1) (click the diagram left to expand) and facilitate the diffusion of information, ideas and innovations(2)


Whilst we can easily provide a platform and structure to diffuse information, the generation and collection of useful, relevant and interesting content is a factor that should have been addressed before the project was undertaken. 


  • The promotion of our online resources to our target audiences should have been a top priority
  • Junior Doctors already have a lot of resources available to them and it is important to develop niche information in order to attract them.
  • We have had very limited success engaging clinicians to provide us with content. Perhaps this is due to a lack of time or other pressures or indeed a lack of information/interest.  This is an area that requires further investigation.
  • This project has and will continue to be a challenge.
Summary of Work

We have developed a multi channel online presence incorporating social media channels such as facebook, twitter and you-tube with our website and a forum to provide logistical and educational resources to doctors and Medical Students.

Our website, whilst facilitating online course bookings for Junior Doctors nationally, also has a secure section that offers Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust (LTHT) Junior Doctors and Leeds based Medical Undergraduates specific information, guidance and educational resources in regard to specialities and placements. 

A large proportion of the time invested in this project initially, and on an ongoing basis, is required to engage LTHT Clinicians to provide content and then to update this content on a regular basis.  We have tried to make this process as simple as possible by providing templates and guidleines for Clinicians to complete and updating the website content ourselves. 

Take-home Messages
  • Establishing a specific offer is important to differentiate yourself in a crowded market place.
  • Engaging with clinicians and consumers is an essential part of the process.
  • Buy in from the relevant parties (e.g. Clinicians and Information Governance) before you undertake a large scale project like this is essential.
  • Start small - concentrate on delivering content for one specific group of customers at a time.
  • Running and maintaining a multi channel web presence is a full time job
  • It is not enough to just provide content - consider how you will promote it.



Summary of Results

Data collected online from our primary customer groups is overwhelmingly positive in regard to its appearance and functionality, however engaging the majority of our primary customer groups has proved difficult (see details)

Focus group data has encouraged us to provide a more specific offer and look closely at the information and resources we supply in the online environment.

Only 30% of the consultants we have contacted have engaged in the project.


(1)Framework for Technology Enhanced Learning; DH/Workforce, 2011

(2)Innovation Health and Wealth, Accelerating Adoption and Diffusion in the NHS; Department of Health, NHS Improvement and (2)efficiency Directorate, Innovation and Service Improvement; 2011



Our vision for providing content over multiple channels can be viewed in the diagram below (click to expand)

We believe that the concept of Open Educational Resources is a worthwhile cause and feel that as such a large Teaching Hospital we should be providing resources to the general online community, in addition to resurces specifically for our Leeds based customers. 

When we developed this plan we did not fully appreciate the number of barriers that would stand in the way of achieving our vision.



In addition to the barriers in the diagram below (click to expand) we have had to deal with:

  • Lack of understanding of OER movement
  • Need to generate income
  • No one willing to sign off/take responsibility for content
  • Resources needing to be perfect according to Trust policy before sign off
  • Lack of AV support for production of resources


What now?

  • Initially we need to address the issue of content generation and whose responsibility this is 
  • Re-visit our web presence strategy, in light of the feedback we have gathered and the problems we have had gathering content, should we be aiming smaller?
  • The Co-ordinators for the undergraduate placements, foundation school and core training programmes are based within the Medical Education Department. We feel it is time to hand over responsibility of gathering content and updating the website to them (with support as required)
  • With the recent appointment of an Educational Technologist in the department we are now in a stronger position to generate our own educational content. The next stage involves creating a suitable platform on which to host this content!
Summary of Work

Finding solutions to the barriers we have encountered during the process of this project has proved to be a significant and ongoing drain on resources. In particular the generation of content to release publicly through our social media channels has caused significant delays to our timetable of targets. This is primarily due to the constraints of working in a large, tightly governed Trust that has a considerable amount of localised policy. We have spent a number of months sending information and proposals to the Information Governance team to try and establish a procedure that will enable us to govern the process ourselves.


In addition we have been involved in: purchasing new equipment for the AV team to enable them to make accurately record lectures and presentations at a high enough quality for our requirements (view an example by clicking here; creating our own video model consent form which has had to be signed off by the Information Governance team; filming and producing content; developing our own contracts to help us retain rights over the finished product; helping sculpt Trust policy to be more social media friendly.


 Channel (click to visit) Primary Audience Content
Twitter Other Educationalists / Educational Technologists
  • Resources and news from other parties.
  • Information on what we are working  on and examples of our work.
Facebook Medical Professionals / Medical Undegraduates
  • Medical Resources of interest
Website Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust (LTHT) Junior Doctors and Leeds based Medical Students
  • Local speciality specific information e.g. rota's, leave, LTHT specific

Take-home Messages
Summary of Results


90 Junior Doctors were sent a link to an online feedback form approximately 1 before  starting there employment with the Trust. At this point it will have been 2 weeks since they received notification of their website login details via email


100% Of respondents said they would access the site prior to their induction
33% Of respondents advised they had not accessed the site
83% Of respondents who had accessed the site found the information held there useful
69% Of respondents who had accessed the site advised they would visit again.


Focus Group

After four months in employment with the Trust we held a focus group with 6 Junior Doctors (3 Foundation Year 1 and 3 Foundation Year 2).  Up for discussion were the subjects of: content of the website, linking through social media. The feedback from this group included.

  • The content that was there was useful but not really sufficient to encourage repeat visits.
  • They would be particularly interested in peer based reviews and information on placements
  • Opinion was divided on the prospect of networking through social media. Specifically Facebook as they already have there own groups that they described as quite informal.
  • The group weren't aware of all the different content that the website offered
  • Some of the group had forgotten about it completely.


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