The Power of Health Education Videos—Stories That Engage, Inform, and Empower

Debbie Dakins, Content Manager

Like so many people with diabetes, my mom, Gloria, struggled to manage her blood sugar. She’d test her blood, write down the number, and if it was high, she’d frown, shake her head, and shrug.

To her, there didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to the high or low numbers. Now factor into this scenario Mom’s love of cooking and food—including sweets and all things carb. Especially when the kids were coming for a visit. Hips twitching and fingers snapping, she’d dance across the kitchen floor making chocolate chip cookies or her famous dill dip. The joy! Diabetes could wait another day.

But even when Mom followed what she called “the rules,” she couldn’t find the right formula for keeping her blood sugar in check. “I just don’t know what I’m doing,” she’d say. It was frustrating for her, and for me, trying to help her. Mom passed away in 2005, about a year before I joined Healthwise, and several years before we began producing health videos. I think now about the difference our videos would have made in helping her make a plan that matched her style.

Supportive, actionable, relatable content

Making a plan for better self-care is just the beginning. It’s also about understanding why that plan is so important.

That’s what Mom was missing. Healthwise videos help people see what’s possible by offering:

  • Clear, visual instruction on self-care, whether it’s checking foot health, testing blood sugar, or making food choices.
  • Motivation and support for making a change that makes a difference.
  • Relatable stories about how others have struggled—and how they’ve succeeded.

Real-world scenarios and solutions

Empowering patients to make good decisions about their health is what Healthwise does best. And our videos are no exception. As a communication tool, they help people connect with their providers. Even though Mom had lots of conversations with her doctor about ways to manage her blood sugar, something was missing. I wish she’d had Healthwise videos to fill in the gaps. Something to help her understand how insulin works in the body, find new techniques for staying in her target range, and know the role that exercise plays in managing blood sugar.

Benefits for clinicians, too

The Healthwise Video Library is made up of visual stories that engage, inform, and empower. They give consumers a chance to learn about a condition or how to stay well through the lens of “someone like me.” That’s a powerful prescription.

Doctors, nurses, nutritionists, and other health professionals can use these short videos during a visit to strengthen conversations with their patients. Some clinicians share them with patients after a visit to recap key ideas. Videos help engage patients in their care, which reduces cancelled appointments, leads to lower readmission rates, and improves compliance with care plans.

Healthwise videos also help clinicians bridge cultural and health literacy gaps. When delivered with Healthwise electronic or printed health information, they can also foster greater retention while supporting different learning styles. Truly, they help people like my mom make sense of complicated information that can be hard to retain through reading alone.

Mom loved reading—but her tastes ran more toward the best-seller lists than patient education handouts. Watching a video about how other people with diabetes stay motivated might have helped her feel less frustrated or given her an idea for a new recipe she could try. One that might, just maybe, have spurred a little hip twitching and finger snapping.

You can learn more about how we design and create Healthwise videos in our new datasheet, “Videos Designed to Engage and Educate.”