This research project explores the ways in which illustration might be used to aid the communication of complex medical information within a hospital environment. In particular, the focus will be on comparing the way in which traditional (2D) and digital (primarily 3D) medical illustrations may affect user understanding and experience when used as educational tools.
New digital illustration techniques, such as 3D modelling and animation, paired with advanced imaging of the human body, are rapidly becoming valuable, industry standard tools in a field that has a long history of utilising traditional techniques.
However, the effectiveness of these potentially increasingly complex dimensional and moving medical visualisations as educational tools, in comparison to traditional 2D images, has not been widely assessed in a clinical healthcare context.
In this project, both digital and traditional illustration techniques will be explored through the creation of images and models for a variety of practical clinical applications, in collaboration with medical staff at Auckland City Hospital.
Collection of user-feedback throughout the process of creating the illustrations will inform the design of the images and gauge the usefulness of the final products as they are used in practice, by clinicians in the hospital.
In addition to a body of illustrative work, the anticipated outcome of this research will be a conceptual framework that could be used to inform the creation and use of effective illustrations in modern medical communication. The appropriate use of such didactic images ultimately has the potential to contribute to wider patient health literacy and experience, as well as improved inter-professional communication.