How Medical Animations can benefit Medical Education

For centuries students of medicine have learned their craft with the aid of images such as the historic woodcuts by Andreas Vesalius, or anatomical atlases overlaid by translucent vellum diagrams.

Once more modern-day students became practitioners they would have had to rely on information provided by pharma representatives to decide on the most appropriate product – or medical device – for their patients’ needs. Before the internet, that information would have always been in the form of printed matter which took up valuable storage space and would have taken precious time to refer back to.

In the mid 1920s – long before the Disney studios started work on their first full-length animation –surgeon Jacob Sarnoff created animated movies presenting surgery students with two-dimensional images of the body’s workings. These combined the neatness of annotated diagrams with the untidier reality to which those diagrams referred.1

The first record of medical animation in three dimensions was in 1975, when researchers at Texas A&M University described visualising complex macromolecules in an issue of the journal Science.2

Today, audiences for 3D medical animation are now no longer limited to professionals – animations have also been created for patients before treatment or surgery to ensure the consent they give is fully-informed, or to instruct them in the use of medical devices. They’ve even been broadcast to the general public as “edutainment”.

And just as the audiences for medical animations have broadened, so, too, has the scope of such animations broadened for medical professionals.

For students, research suggests that 3D animations are more effective than traditional teaching methods, and result in better retention of facts in the long term.3

For more seasoned medical professionals, 3D animations offer accessibility to specialised information. For example, previously the only people able to interpret MRI images were trained operators, but animations of such images together with instructional soundtracks can now enable any professional to understand them.

And for those needing to carry out an established medical procedure without the benefit of a medical education – a passer-by needing to perform CPR, for example – pre-prepared and narrated animations are available to view on handheld devices and follow in an emergency. 4

Pharma websites with animations dedicated to specific products are fast becoming the default method of informing medical professionals about the pharmacologic action of those products, as well as the benefits they bring, as do medical device manufacturers’ websites.

So now there’s no longer the need for paperwork to take up valuable storage space, or time to read it, since all the necessary information is available in an instantly-understandable format at the click of a mouse button.

In eighty years medical animation has progressed from simple annotated diagrams to sophisticated three-dimensional representations for a much broader audience, providing:
• Improved retention of information
• Ease of understanding
• Instant availability

And to discover how the most sophisticated of today’s medical animations are created, visit, where the Get Animated! Medical team’s unique four-step development process creates the ideal script, soundtrack, design and animation sequences for any purpose, for any audience.

1 Medical animation:

2 Macromolecules:

3 Long-term retention:

4 CPR:

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