Dysphagia is Hard to Swallow

by Havas Life Medicom for Nestle Health Science

Summary of work

Associated with ageing or neurological disorders, dysphagia causes difficulties with swallowing. It can be frightening, isolating and lead to a risk of respiratory infections or malnutrition. Interviews and social listening revealed little is known about dysphagia outside care homes. Many vulnerable people suffer in silence while at-home carers lack even basic information to support their loved ones. Mealtimes can be emotionally-charged and overwhelming.
We needed to reach people in a home-setting and put dysphagia on the map. We set in motion a digital & social nudge campaign (Italy and Spain pilots) that grabbed attention, established empathy, and landed our “Dysphagia – is hard to swallow” message.
The challenge was to improve familiarity with the medical term “dysphagia” and support diagnosis by driving engagement with the EAT-10 screening tool. Facebook was identified as the most suitable channel – especially for carers looking for support and who were willing to share experiences. Conversion metrics showed “Dysphagia – is hard to swallow” successfully generated high levels of engagement. Our message reached 30 million people and the target community actively shared posts and commented. Over 200,000 people visited the landing page with 30% completing the diagnosis-screening Q&A. Around half of respondents scored a high risk of dysphagia.

To date, the program has successfully generated and leveraged data through newly established channels and partnerships with engaged stakeholders. The program has already successfully influenced clinical practice and policy at global, country and clinic levels via novel insights and targeted, patient-focused solutions. Adherence is gaining the attention it has long needed, and real-world outcomes will improve as a result.

Judges’ comments

Dysphagia is Hard to Swallow is an impressive campaign that is tackling an under-recognised condition and which delivered good outcomes. The tactics used were strong, with the needs identified resulting in real benefits for patients. In particular, the conversion rate on the questionnaire really stood out to us!