Why Medical Animation Has Become Such an Important Resource for Patients

By | Medical Animation

Many researchers have openly expressed the importance for animation in the healthcare field and 3D visuals. Medical students and professionals have further explained how much easier medical animations have made their lives in terms of learning and sharing information. However, the extent to how beneficial it is to patients is often not credited enough.

Some ways in which medical animations assist patients are:

  1. It provides a sense of calmness and fills in the inadequate knowledge of healthcare. For instance, patients are often diagnosed with an illness but it is either not explained to them at all, explained with missing details or the patient is too embarrassed to ask questions about it. This creates a lot of anxiety and unnecessary added stress for the patient by fearing about the unknown. Animations, as shown below, explains what asthma is, symptoms, causes and modern treatment. Seeing a visual of what is happening, makes it easier for the patient to understand.

  2. In addition to this, it helps the patient prepare for surgery. By knowing exactly what will happen during it, eliminates the tension they might feel prior to the day of the surgery. In a study conducted by Aarhus University, animations were shown pre and post surgery for those undergoing hip replacement surgery. The video displayed what happens during the surgery and what patients can expect afterwards. The results of the study depicted that the patients that saw the video were less anxious and at ease in comparison to those who had not seen it. Moreover, the study found that less pressure was put on the healthcare professionals taking care of them.
    Another example is shown in this video by the Colorectal Surgical Associates, which describes how laparoscopic colon surgery is done using 3D animations and textured visuals making it much more fascinating to see and easy to comprehend. Using simple medical terminology, by showing how the tumor is isolated and the colon is removed makes the procedure seem less overwhelming and gives the patient an idea of what to expect.



  3. Medical animations create a way for people to follow a healthy lifestyle and keep fit which is great for recovery from a surgery or preventative measures for illnesses. In the same study by Aarhus University, they used animations in telemedicine to help patients who underwent hip replacement surgery recover faster from the comfort of their home. Instead of patients spending several days in the hospital, they were sent home and watched rehabilitation exercises specific to hip surgery. According to Dr. Vesterby who carried out the study, he found that the patients felt they recovered faster as they has telemedicine as a solution for support. Additionally, they felt more confident and comforted knowing they had the training information they needed compared to those who did not. Even though it was more tasks and responsibility for the patient, telemedicine animations meant that the patient spent fewer days in a hospital bed and made them less concerned about the procedure.


  4. Medical animations are great to show children as well, as they learn in different ways than adults and are more attracted to bright colors and visuals. Especially for picky eaters or trying to include more fruits and vegetables in a child’s diet, makes it easier for them to understand the importance of this and relate to better through medical animations.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7FWhXM_wpDc

  5. Mental health is a difficult illness to treat as people have different levels in the way it affects them and respond differently to various treatments. A mental health trainer working at a hospital in Melbourne stated that she often had trouble getting her patients to understand empathy through role-playing. However, she found that they responded better to and understood the process in less than three minutes by watching an animation portraying this emotion. Further, animations can be more motivating, attractive and a less intimidating way to seek medical help. For example, this short medical animation by the Department of Health in Australia, Head to Health, shows ways of finding online resources and support for mental health. 

Healthcare Animations Related to Health Literacy

By | Medical Animation
Image Source: http://medicalavatar.com/products/3-d-medical-animations/

Understanding and especially remembering web-based health information can be challenging, more so when one has little or no prior medical knowledge. In 2013, it was determined that the majority of people living in the Netherlands and the United States used the internet often to find out health- related information and according to surveys, they considered it
to be the most valuable resource to find medical information. But, a significant amount of the participants had stated that they had difficulty comprehending the web-based health information due to low health literacy. The issue with this is, now where everyone is so dependent on technology and the internet, they turn to Google for answers and are less likely to go for preventative health services for example, cancer screenings or even to the hospital if they think what they are experiencing is not serious. To reduce this disparity among people of low versus high health literacy, it was found that this generation responded less to written text and more to pictures or animations. There are different ways of studying and learning however, most health literature states that the most effective way of studying and recalling it at a later time is through animations. One of the studies conducted by Schulz and Castaneda in 2015 investigated this further where they tested three variables:

  1. Do healthcare animations improve the way people remember information?
  2. Do healthcare animations improve understanding among those with low health
    literacy?
  3. Is there a difference between health literacy groups?
    An online experiment was done consisting of 231 participants, aged 55 years or older with either high or low health literacy. There were different categories, one of spoken versus written text and the other with illustration versus animations. Participants all had the same information regarding colorectal cancer screening and were randomly introduced to one of the four categories. The results depicted that from the group of participants with low health literacy, spoken text together with animations was the most effective method to help them recall and understand information as opposed to written text. From the group that had a high health literacy rate, there was no difference displayed between how they comprehended written texts and animations. However, there was a slight difference in that they recalled more information from the animations shown compared to the written information about colorectal cancer screenings. This study, in support of many others, established that displaying information using healthcare animations improved understanding and recollection among those who had a low health literacy. As online communication is on the rise, it is important to use this platform as much as possible to transfer healthcare information and make it easily accessible to people. As shown in the studies above it is clear that animations say a 1000 words. Therefore, healthcare animations would be most useful and intriguing for online medical information, especially for those with a low health literacy.

3D Printing Advances the Healthcare Animation Industry

By | Healthcare Animation

Technology and animation is developing rapidly and creating an enhanced way to cut down a few extra steps to make one’s daily life easier.  3D printing has played a major role in improving healthcare and making it easier for medical professionals to have the resources they require. This medical technology offers many benefits even for medical educational training. It is useful in more than one way such as drug recreation, reproduction of medical equipment and proposes cheaper medical solutions. As a result, 3D healthcare animations bring life to medical procedures and devices. The Medical Futurists explains this further through a list of what can be done through 3D medical printing. These include, but do not limit:

  1. Finger Splints- They can be printed in 3D form which is cost effective and quick as it only costs approximately $0.02/ minute. This innovation can be an important development for third- world countries as it is affordable.

  2. Plaster Casts- 3D printing can finally transform the experience of breaking a bone. It models the patient’s limb that generates a personalized 3D cast. This is done through a rehabilitation module, which stimulates the muscles below the casts that prevent muscle atrophy.

  3. Prosthetics- This is becoming a global phenomenon as volunteers are travelling to various places around the world, especially developing countries, to teach others the design and process of how to build prosthetic hands. For example, 3D printing was taught in Sudan, where the war left many with amputated limbs.

  4. Surgical Preparation- This tool from 3D printing builds surgical tools specific to the patient. It helps medical professionals practice in advance for complex surgeries using 3D printed objects.

  5. Drugs- Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first 3D printing drugs. The specialty of this is each layer is printed individually helping it to dissolve faster than the average drug.

  6. Bio-materials- 3D printing has recently become an emerging application for tissue engineering. Already, researchers have printed skin, synthetic ears and have launched a bio printer kidney tissue.
Image Source: http://www.andysowards.com/blog/2018/key-ways-3d-printing-impacts-healthcare-industry/

 

Even though this technology is so advanced and outstanding, for the healthcare animation industry, it is just the beginning. It is said that in the future, sensor components, diagnostic tools and transplant-able tissues will be able to be printed and this industry will just continue to grow further. For instance, previous biomedical manufacturing began with 3D medical animations and has now moved up to 3D printed tumors. Dr. Wei Sun and a team of researchers from Drexel University in Philadelphia suggested that by biofabricating cancerous tumors in 3D, it would improve the ability of oncologists to safely destroy these specific tumors. This emerging technology would help to provide a more realistic 3D model for doctors to work on and experiment with to discover appropriate treatments. 3D medical printing has enhanced and improved the healthcare animation industry by creating interactive and accurate animations.

Online Medical Training Video- Awareness of Food Allergies

By | Medical Animation

Having trouble understanding what food your child could take to school? As a child care staff, not sure how to prevent life-threatening allergy attacks? Unsure what the symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction or asthma attack are? As a parent/caregiver or staff, do you know what to do during an anaphylactic reaction and how quickly to respond?

Not being able to answer all of these questions is a serious issue as many people lack awareness of how deadly food allergies can be, especially if it is not responded to immediately. 700, 000 Canadians have anaphylactic reactions from food or insect allergies. Many schools have taken the precaution and created stricter rules on what types of foods are allowed, to avoid any more serious reactions and deaths from occurring. Food Allergy Canada is an organization that has also taken the initiative to raise awareness about food allergies through online video trainings and interactive animations.

With not only allergies on the rise but the use of technology, Food Allergy Canada has created a free, online course called Allergy Aware Program. It includes what anaphylaxis is, ways to reduce it and emergency treatment. It is offered in English and French and is targeted towards schools, parents and childcare settings. It is interactive, uses engaging visuals, mobile-friendly and only takes approximately 30 minutes to complete each course.

The Allergy Aware Program is divided into three courses:

  1. Anaphylaxis in the Community: What Parents and Others Need to Know
  2. Anaphylaxis in Schools: What Educators Need to Know
  3. Anaphylaxis in Child Care Settings: What Staff/ Caregivers Need to Know

Foof allergy

This online program is user-friendly, the information is easy to understand and a lot can be learnt from it, making it less of a hassle to complete. Each course consists of videos between 30 seconds – two minutes long, has scenario-related quizzes, school board policies, reduction strategies and our responsibility as a parent/guardian, individuals at risk and the school community. Additionally, this online training material is an effective method of learning as it has a step by step guideline using pictures on how to administer an epinephrine auto-injector. This is paired with a detailed video of what an epinephrine injector is, how to use it, and signs and symptoms to look out for before administering a second shot.

 

Healthcare online training serves as a useful resource, as it raises awareness on such a detrimental issue.  By using animations and videos, it reaches out to a wider audience, makes it accessible to the community and assists as a learning tool for children.