A London practice is using YouTube to share health messages with patients including a video about ear wax removal that has had more than 100,000 hits.

Dr Shanker Vijayadeva presented a session at EHI Live 2012 entitled ‘You too can YouTube.’

He is a GP at the Hillview Surgery in Greenford where he first started YouTubing in 2010.

GPs are struggling with increasing workloads which can lead to a demoralised workforce and makes access a “constant issue”, he said.

“We thought if we couldn’t be around for patients all the time, could we engage with patients in different ways?” Dr Vijayadeva asked the audience at EHI Live.

“I felt NHS Choices was the BBC or The Times of engagement with patients and perhaps we needed to provide something more like the Sun or the Daily Mirror.”

YouTube presented as a cheap and accessible answer and within a few weeks every staff member had created a video when some had barely used the internet before.

Every video is done in one take and they cover a variety of areas such as smear tests and bowel cancer.

Ear wax is the topic of the practice’s most watched video with 100,000 hits and still averaging 50-60 per day.

“This can be very cheap functionality in a time of limited resources,” Dr Vijayadeva said.

People around the world have viewed the clips with the largest number of hits in the UK followed by the United States.

Young to middle-aged men are a key target group for health campaigns as they rarely visit the doctor and you tube analytics show the videos are a hit with this group.

Dr Vijayadeva said YouTubing has changed his relationship with patients as they feel more at ease going to the practice because they know the staff from their videos.

This allows the consultation to quickly get to the heart of what the patient has come to the GP about.

“They feel they have built a relationship with you before they enter the room,” he explained.

“It’s been magic.”

Dr Vijayadeva believes the videos have prevented people accessing other health services and said their creation has empowered practice staff who feel they are really making a difference to people’s health.