Narrative review of animation in patient education

Taren Bettler, Aravinda Thiagalingam

Background: Digital media is an emerging tool that clinicians can use to empower patients and increase their engagement with disease management. In particular, the use of clinician created animation and video is emerging as a valuable adjuvant in accurate patient education, especially during the COVID pandemic as in person consultations become more restricted.

Aims: The aim of this literature review was to assess the impact of clinician created educational animation and explore emerging themes to inform future content creation in cardiology-based content.

Methods: This review included studies in the PubMed electronic database using the search terms ‘animation’, ‘patient’ and ‘education’. The aim was to examine quantitative improvement in knowledge acquisition in addition to extracting themes that were identified in improving the information exchange process.

Results: From this search 111 articles were identified, of which 36 were suitable for inclusion. The results demonstrated that patient targeted digital media significantly improves quantitative knowledge recall on multiple choice testing. Beyond immediate information acquisition, themes that emerged included i) increased understanding of pathological events, ii) increased acceptability of ongoing medical management of these conditions and iii) improvement in expectations of treatment.

Conclusions: Though this study was not limited to a specific field of medicine given the small number of articles in any one field, the improvement of patient education using animation appeared independent of medical subspecialty. Therefore, though animation is not in itself a new digital device, its use and acceptability among clinicians is still novel and thus represents an underutilized source of information exchange between patient and doctor.