Digital storytelling: Bringing evidence-based treatment for C. difficile infection closer to home


  • Christine Lee
    Island Health
  • Katharine McKeen
    Victoria Division of Family Practice


  • Jocelyn Chai 
    University of British Columbia

Dr. Christine Lee and her research co-lead Dr. Katharine McKeen, a primary care physician (PCP) with the Victoria Division of Family Practice (DFP), are employing a patient-oriented research (POR) approach to raise awareness and disseminate evidence of fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) to treat recurrent Clostridium difficile infection (rCDI). FMT, the administration of feces from a healthy screened donor, is demonstrated to be both safe and more effective than the usual ways to treat rCDI. Estimates from three recent Canadian studies indicate that only 1,000 rCDI patients have received FMT, yet approximately 10,000 Canadians each year are diagnosed with rCDI.

The team is proposing a distributed knowledge translation approach, one that will enable them to reach diverse stakeholders: patients, families, PCPs, and healthcare decision makers (HCMs). Using a POR approach, they will co-develop a digital story that will enable their patient partner to share her lived experience of rCDI and FMT, and then the research team will relay the evidence for FMT. This video will be used for public outreach and as an education tool. They will also engage PCPs and HCDMs through presentations at their respective networks. During this outreach, the digital story will be displayed.

The overall goal is to increase FMT access for patients diagnosed with rCDI. The objectives are to:

  1. Raise awareness of rCDI and FMT.
  2. Inform stakeholders of FMT’s safety and effectiveness.
  3. Engage PCPs and HCDMs in a constructive dialogue to discuss the benefits of and evidence for FMT for rCDI.

The expected outcomes and outputs are to:

  1. Raise stakeholder awareness of FMT and its benefits as a treatment for rCDI. Output: Production and launch of a digital story telling video on rCDI and FMT as an education and public awareness tool.
  2. Foster communications with PCPs and increase their awareness of regional FMT resources. Output: Share the digital story and engage PCPs in a constructive dialogue via a café scientifique style discussion at the DFP “Dine and Learn” session.
  3. Increase HCDMs awareness of regional FMT resources and FMTs positive contributions to the healthcare system overall. Output: Share the digital story and engage HCMs through presentations to Island Health's Medical Advisory and Clinical Practice Councils.

The team will evaluate the impact of their work by using the domains of the Canadian Academy of Health Science “Making and Impact” framework: advancing knowledge; research capacity building; informed decision making; health impact; and broad social and economic impact.