Medical Media for Education

Not so long ago, it used to be that only experts could access expert knowledge, research, and diagnosis. There was a great divide of knowledge between doctors and patients. Whatever the doctor told the patient was the only information available to the patient for treatment.

neuroendoscopic third ventriculostomy medical illustration Studio Kayama

For most people, the above image means very little. What is this, and where are we? The general population will not be familiar with neuroanatomy and the views from the neurendoscope. To find out about the latest research, one had to visit a medical library to read through articles written for neurosurgeons by neurosurgeons.

With the content available on the internet growing exponentially every day, the knowledge divide seems to be disappearing. Almost anything could be found online. However, there is still a great gap when it comes to doctor to patient communication.

Illustration as medical media: illustrations help doctors and specialists communicate better with their patients.

The problem is, many doctors are typically rushed for time because they have to see so many patients every day.  Rushed appointments with doctors leads patients to over-worrying and then emailing or phoning the doctors for more information. Frustrated patients become uncooperative and tend not to follow the doctor’s advice.  Additionally, most patients are unfamiliar with anatomy, physiology, or pathology, so when doctors do find the time to explain their conditions using medical jargon and cutting edge technologies like MRI scans, all it does is confuse the patients even more.

medical illustration conceptualizes and tells a story

To help the patients, some doctors will show a photo or an MRI image (left). Unfortunately, to the untrained eye, the image is not helpful at all.

To help solve these situations, medical illustrations are used to help the patients understand their bodies and why they work in a certain way.  These are purposely non-technical, yet informative visuals designed to efficiently explain what’s happening to their bodies.

neuroendoscopic third ventriculostomy patient education illustration

Unlike photos, illustrations can filter information so only the key ideas are communicated.  Though simple to comprehend, the illustrations accurately and realistically explain science and medicine, and patients understand more quickly and accurately what they need to do to take care of themselves.  All of this helps doctors save precious time and retain satisfied patients.

High quality illustrations help viewers learn and retain information better. Having illustrations is more than just decorating your work. It’s about connecting and helping more people and having greater impact in the healthcare community. And that’s why I’m so passionate about working with doctors to create illustrations to help patients.

Visuals can be in many forms to fit the patients’ needs. They can be a series of illustrations on a brochure, so they can take them home to go over with their family. The illustration can be on a website where it is easy to share the information to a greater number of patients.

Illustrations make specialist knowledge more accessible and relevant to everyone. Illustrations will also help make your work more visible and easily recognized.

Now, here’s what I want you to do:

I’m getting ready to write more articles that help researchers and physicians to share their research and expertise through custom visuals…

So, I want you to leave a comment below telling me what you’d like me to cover. If you like to keep it private, please feel free to use the contact form instead.

Also, I’d love it if you could share a lesson learned from visuals as medical media below, and please share this post if you know others who have benefited from medical media.

About Ikumi Kayama

Studio Kayama’s Founder, Ikumi Kayama is an award-winning medical & scientific illustrator who helps scientists and doctors how to be heard and understood and how to express the value of what they do through accurate and useful illustrations. Ikumi's mission is to make science relevant and accessible to everyone using accurate visuals. She also gives PowerPoint Design Tip seminars for the scientists and various illustration technique courses for the artists. Come say hello and follow Ikumi on facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, and Google+ .