The dancing doctor on delivering a life saving asthma message

NHS England’s Clinical Entrepreneur, Tapas Mukherjee, discusses the important, life-saving messages behind the entertaining dancing doctor asthma video. Since its launch just over three weeks ago the video has been viewed over 30,000 times.

I first had the idea when working on rotation at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester. During this time, I noticed that not all doctors were using asthma guidelines which could potentially prove problematic.

Studies have shown that 80% of patients don’t know how to use an inhaler correctly and that using a blue inhaler more than twice a week is associated with an increased risk of death. This highlights the crucial need for clear messaging around asthma and the use of inhalers.

So, I made it my mission to rewrite Trust guidelines in an attempt to make them more appealing and useful. An accompanying song followed quite naturally! And importantly, as a result the numbers of staff using guidelines doubled.

After winning an award from The NHS England Regional Innovation Fund in 2014, I was able to develop what is now known as ‘The Inhaler Song’. It aims to reduce the number of patients who are reliant on their emergency blue inhaler, encouraging them to seek advice from a doctor or nurse, and switch to a regular inhaler if possible.

Asthma affects the lives of more than four million adults and one million children in the UK, so we need to find creative new ways of engaging with our patients. The video sets out to be entertaining but also uses hard-hitting facts from the National Review of Asthma Deaths Report. I wanted to create the right balance so that it was both memorable and informative helping raise awareness of an important but relatively silent health concern.

I am delighted by the recognition the song has received to date from staff and colleagues including over 30,000 views. If the video encourages one person to seek advice and saves a life then it has been a huge success.
We will be continuing work to promote the video and spread its message.

I have an idea for a second video but will keep this under wraps for the time being – watch this space!

The Inhaler Song

Tapas Mukherjee

Tapas Mukherjee, 35, studied at Manchester University. He initially trained as an acute medicine and icu registrar at East Midlands (Acute) and UCLH (Icu).

It was on rotation at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester that he rewrote asthma guidelines and was awarded British Thoracic Society Prize for Respiratory Education as his work doubled the numbers of staff using guidelines.
Tapas received funding from NHS England Regional Innovation Fund to develop ‘The Inhaler Song’. In 2015, he was awarded the NHS England Innovation Acorn Award.

This year he was awarded the role Clinical Entrepreneur at NHS England.