Advanced Medical Training – Information, Animation, & Educating Healthcare Professionals

The pursuit of knowledge is a long and winding road – and is there any road longer, or more winding, than the journey to becoming a professional healthcare practitioner? These are the workers – the doctors, nurses, technicians, analysts, first-responders, psychologists, social carers, and patient liaisons – doing such incredible and valuable work throughout our communities.

Yet, conditions for medical professionals are far from ideal, with the WHO projecting a workforce shortfall of 10 million by 2030 (World Health Organization). The reasons for this are myriad, complex, and often socio-geo-political: conversations for another time and place.

Part of the difficulty, though, in meeting the demand, lies in that long and arduous qualification process. To put it another way: it takes a lot of time, money, and effort to gain the necessary qualifications – notably, almost half (48%) of all healthcare professionals are “highly qualified” (The King’s Fund).

So is there a way to expedite the process of training and educating medical professionals? Can we deliver advanced medical training in a more streamlined and efficient way?

The answer to these questions is ‘yes’ – and the solution lies in medical and healthcare animation.

In this blog post, we will delve into the profound impact of animation on healthcare education, exploring how it bridges the gap between theory and practice, enhances the learning experience, and equips healthcare professionals with the expertise they need to excel in their careers.

A Window Into Advanced Medical Training

Healthcare is a dynamic field, marked by groundbreaking research, technological advancements, and ever-changing treatment modalities. To meet the diverse and complex needs of patients, healthcare professionals must stay current with the latest developments and best practices in their respective domains – no mean feat, prompting some to even call for the shortening of training processes (The Guardian).

From Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) to psychiatric nursing, physical therapy, and pharmacy technician certification, various programs cater to a broad spectrum of healthcare roles. Certification programs such as CPR, resuscitation, and emergency response training arm first responders, nurses, paramedics, and advanced EMTs with the life-saving skills that are so crucial in critical situations.

Accredited certifications not only keep professionals on-the-pulse of industry / technological advancements, but also ensure they meet the highest standards of patient care and safety.

Ultimately, through comprehensive and specialised training, healthcare professionals gain the expertise to:

  • Make accurate diagnoses
  • Implement evidence-based interventions
  • Provide personalised patient care

This leads to significant improvements in patient outcomes and safety. Strikingly, though, medical professionals involved in the training of new practitioners report an alarming consequence on quality of care: over half of trainers (51%) cited sub-standard patient safety or care, and 49% described an inability to provide sufficient care each week (General Medical Council, The State of Medical Education and Practice in the UK).

The Role of Animation in Advanced Medical Training

Traditionally medical education relied on textbooks and static presentations – picture switched-off students drowsing in an auditorium, books left open and unheeded in front of them, while a presenter meanders their way through an instructive but ultimately unengaging PowerPoint.

This style of education, however well-researched, cannot communicate the intricacies of the human body or medical procedures in an effective or efficient way. Research (Savoy, Proctor, Salvendy) shows that students retain 15% or less of information delivered via this ‘chalk and talk’ method.

Medical and healthcare animation, on the other hand, offers dynamic and engaging visual representation that transcends the limitations of traditional teaching methods.

Animations provide a valuable way to communicate dynamic, complex sequences of biological events more effectively than text or a static graphic[…] [A medical student’s] everyday life is primarily based on auditory and visual communication. Their comments here and in a previous study indicate that they prefer having animations in lieu of reading the textbook.

Although this may be anathema to teachers, it is a reality of academic life that needs to be considered as we develop new courses and curricula.”
D. H. O’Day, The Value of Animations in Biology Teaching: A Study of Long-Term Memory Retention

Animated videos have been proven to improve information retention and, through advanced healthcare training programs, medical students and professionals can explore detailed anatomical structures, observe physiological processes, and visualise various medical conditions.

Visual Representation & Medical Complexities

In the healthcare field, accuracy and precision are integral. Animation provides a unique advantage because it illustrates complex medical concepts and procedures with utmost clarity and accuracy – as in this bowel cancer animation, demonstrating the steps and process of a colonoscopy.

Through detailed visualisations, learners process intricate information and can study medical cases from different angles, enhancing diagnostic and problem-solving skills.

For instance, medical professionals or students can utilise animation to understand the intricacies of hip and knee surgical procedures (University of Washington), cosmetic aesthetic treatments (American Society of Plastic Surgeons), or orthopaedic care (Springer).

Furthermore, animated simulations can allow learners to observe the progression of diseases and their impact on the body over time, fostering a comprehensive understanding of various medical conditions.

Animation to Simulate Real-Life Patient Scenarios

Video animations show promise as patient information tools, particularly for effects on knowledge.
Moe-Byrne et. al, The effectiveness of video animations as information tools for patients and the general public

From emergency scenarios to psychiatric assessments, animation enables viewers (including patients as well as medical students) to navigate situations in an informative, risk-free environment.

By engaging in realistic simulations, healthcare professionals can refine their clinical skills, communication techniques, and decision-making abilities, ultimately leading to improved patient care and safety (LinkedIn).

Moreover, animation can recreate and raise awareness of rare diseases that learners may not encounter frequently in practice. Exposure to these scenarios through animated simulations equips healthcare professionals with the knowledge and preparedness to address unique challenges confidently.

Two medical professionals with VR headsets on viewing a 3D model of a heart in the AR space

Advantages of Animated Medical Courses

“Animation in medicine is motivated by complex dynamical processes, such as movements of heart valves, ventricles and vascular structures. Such complex and related movements cannot be fully understood by means of static images that only depict a ‘frozen concept’.

[…] In educational settings, animations are particularly useful at early stages to make the learner familiar with certain processes.”
B. Preim, A Survey of Medical Animations

A growing body of research shows that animated medical courses offer numerous advantages, over and above traditional teaching methods, that can revolutionise the way healthcare professionals learn and prepare for real-world challenges.

Animation, furthermore, has become an integral part of various medical certification programs, including Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Basic Life Support (BLS), and others.

This innovative approach to training enhances the learning experience for nurses, technicians, and other healthcare professionals, providing them with valuable advantages in mastering critical life-saving skills. Below, we explore some of the key advantages of using animation for advanced medical training.

Visual Clarity and Realism
Animation brings medical procedures and emergency scenarios to life with exceptional clarity. Learners can observe step-by-step demonstrations of techniques, such as chest compressions during CPR or administering medications, allowing for better comprehension and retention of essential skills.

Dynamic Interactive Learning
Animated certification programs engage learners through dynamic and interactive content. The visualise interactions with patients, and simulate emergency situations, fosters active learning – improving the learners’ ability to respond effectively in high-pressure scenarios.

Safe Environment for Practice
Animation-based certification provides a safe learning environment for healthcare professionals to learn about procedures without risking the well-being of real patients. Learners can watch animated videos as many times as it takes to feel comfortable and confident, promoting belief in their own skills.

Standardisation and Consistency
Animated content delivers a consistent and standardised curriculum – unlike teachers, animated videos don’t have off-days – maintaining high-quality training across different locations and facilities. This guarantees that all healthcare professionals receive the same high-quality education, leading to uniformity in the delivery of patient care.

Flexible Learning Opportunities
Animated certification courses offer flexibility in learning. Healthcare professionals can access the material at their own pace and convenience, allowing them to balance often-demanding schedules while advancing their medical knowledge and skills.

Enhanced Retention and Application
As we’ve seen, the dynamic, novel nature of animation captures learners’ attention and aids in long-term memory retention. As a result, healthcare professionals are better equipped to apply their knowledge and skills effectively during real-life emergencies.

Empowering Specialised Training
Animation-based certification extends beyond basic life support, catering to specialised medical areas such as paediatric life support or advanced cardiac life support. This enables professionals to engage with nuanced fields, improving care for specific demographics.

Evolving with Advancements
Animated certification programs can be easily updated to incorporate the latest medical guidelines, technologies, and best practices. This adaptability ensures that healthcare professionals are equipped with the most current knowledge and skills.

AR Skeleton and Organs lying on a Table

The Future of Medical Training: What’s in Store?

Looking ahead, the future of medical training will continue to be transformed by refinements in the potential of animation technology, alongside burgeoning possibilities such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies.

By blending animation and interactive elements, these cutting-edge tools create immersive learning experiences for healthcare professionals.

As things stand, advanced medical training supported by animation represents a revolutionary force in educating healthcare professionals. The dynamic visualisations, interactive simulations, and immersive experiences offered by animation enhance the learning process and prepare healthcare providers to excel in their roles.

By embracing innovation and animation’s powerful impact, we are paving the way to a more effective future in healthcare training – benefiting patients, helping train the practitioners our society relies upon, and transforming the landscape of medical practice worldwide.

Ready to take your healthcare training to the next level with innovative animation and immersive technology? Contact Sliced Bread Animation to explore how animation can transform the way your healthcare professionals learn.

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