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MedEconomics: The waiting room health quiz

Dr Mahibur Rahman has devised a health promotion quiz for patients.

During my time as a registrar at the Dyfed Road Surgery, West Glamorgan, I created an interactive health promotion tool for patients that led to my winning an RCGP GP Registrar award last year.

It was a fairly simple process to set up the health challenge quiz for patients in the waiting room. An old computer that was due to be thrown out was recycled to run the show. The only extra cost was buying a new 19-inch TFT monitor for about £200.

The quiz runs as a slide show in Microsoft Powerpoint, and was designed to be interactive, informative and entertaining.

Three types of questions were used: true-or-false questions, multiple-choice questions and questions with open answers. The slide show reveals a question, allows time for patients to consider the options and then displays the correct answer, with feedback and advice where relevant.

This ensures that it is interactive.

To keep it informative, many of the questions focus on key topics that have been highlighted as important areas for health promotion, such as smoking, obesity, STIs and mental health problems.

We also include some fun questions about health and the human body, and there are slides giving advice about services available in the practice, regionally and nationally.

Because we used a standard program, Powerpoint, the system is flexible and easy to update, and we can add slides for seasonal campaigns that are being run in the surgery at no extra cost.

All slides have a common layout ensuring a consistent look, with high-quality photos to draw the attention of younger patients.

Slide show adaptation

The quiz has 86 slides so far, with more being added regularly. It lasts 24 minutes before starting again automatically.

It could easily be adapted for use in other practices - slides with local relevance can be removed and new ones added in only a few minutes.

Health promotion is recognised as an effective way to prevent disease and to modify patient behaviour. We wanted to increase awareness of key problems affecting our practice population in a novel way.

By mixing questions about key health topics with more fun questions, the intention was to engage the patients without them feeling that we were trying to push a message at them too hard.

The system also allows several patients to take part at the same time, which will hopefully maximise the impact.

Many patients take part in the quiz in the waiting room every day. We left slips for patient comments, and so far we have had many positive responses.

Smoking cessation awareness has improved, and the quiz is improving patient behaviour.

The quiz has a positive impact on patient care and is a cost-effective way of keeping patients informed while they sit in the waiting room.

- Dr Rahman is a GP registrar on the Neath Port Talbot VTS, South Wales. Contact him by email at mahibur@ gmail.com

- Download a small version of the quiz from www.emedica.co.uk/quiz.htm

- Involve the whole practice team early on.
- Include lots of pictures to attract people's attention.
- Make questions easy to understand.
- Get patient feedback to keep improving your work.

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