Developing pre-recorded pharmacist video-education for cancer patients

Tara M. Poke

BPharm | Cancer Services Pharmacist, Princess Alexandra Hospital |

[Pharmacy GRIT Article No: 20131381]

Counselling and providing patient education are some of the most important and rewarding roles we deliver as pharmacists, however there are many factors that influence the success of patient education.1 Factors may include complexity of the concepts delivered, the information to convey and the limited time in which to deliver it, and patient factors such as anxiety or health literacy. Patients with recent cancer diagnoses are a cohort that potentially have multiple barriers preventing them from getting the best out of education delivered by pharmacists. There is often a short window of time between diagnosis and commencement of treatment, so patients may have limited access to information about their cancer and available treatments. This is why pharmacists in cancer services play an essential role in providing patients with counselling for high-risk cancer treatments, encouraging medication adherence, providing advice on how to manage adverse effects, and how to recognise and respond to life threatening situations related to treatment, such as signs of infection. These patient education sessions take time and are delivered to patients during their first specialist appointment or even at commencement of the first treatment. These time points are often at a period of high stress for the patient, which leads to poor information retention following their pharmacist information session.2

My goal is to develop and assess the effect of providing patients with pre-recorded patient education for cancer treatment that will be made available to patients electronically to view at a time and place that is more suitable for their individual needs. For example, a patient may wish to watch the patient information at home with family members after their specialist appointment. Then, on the day of their first treatment, the pharmacist can deliver a more tailored information session, such as the results of an interaction check, how to take their new medicines to manage side effects, and responding to patient questions.

Asynchronous, pre-recorded, video-education has been used successfully in other settings already. A systematic review found that preoperative educational videos were also found to be beneficial in improving patient’s satisfaction, knowledge, understanding, preparedness, anxiety, and postoperative quality of life.3 Additionally, patients’ ability to recall and report side effects of treatment with the addition of a video intervention has been studied in patients receiving adjuvant treatment for breast and colorectal cancer.4 Providing high quality health education in advance of cancer treatment is likely to assist us in improving patient centred care by allowing the patient timely access to information about their treatment. This method also takes into account that some patients may have additional barriers to receiving on-site education due to their physical or mental wellbeing at the time of their diagnosis.2 However, there is very little information on pharmacist led education and how this can be incorporated into practise alongside our other responsibilities and interventions in this space. This is what my research will explore. Although I’m still in the planning phases, I am looking forward to using a scientific mixed methods approach to design and evaluate an asynchronous pre-recorded patient education resource for cancer treatment, as it will improve the patient and pharmacist experience.


The author would like to acknowledge the support and supervision of Dr Centaine Snoswell while undertaking this research.


  1. Chevalier BAM, Watson BM, Barras MA, Cottrell WN. Hospital pharmacists’ and patients’ views about what constitutes effective communication between pharmacists and patients. Int J Pharm Pract 2018; 26: 450–7.
  2. Lambourne T, Minard LV, Deal H, Pitman J, Rolle M, Saulnier D, et al. Optimizing Patient Education of Oncology Medications: A Patient Perspective. J Cancer Educ 2019; 34: 1024–30.
  3. Tom K, Phang PT. Effectiveness of the video medium to supplement preoperative patient education: A systematic review of the literature. Patient Educ Couns 2022; 105: 1878–87.
  4.  Kinnane N, Thompson L. Evaluation of the addition of video-based education for patients receiving standard pre-chemotherapy education. Eur J Cancer Care 2008; 4: 328–39.