A Gripping Story: The Benefits of 3D Medical Animation

While the world of medical technology is expanding rapidly, medtech marketing is lagging far behind. You may have read my recent article: Is the Medical Device industry finally catching up? The State of Digital Media in the Medical Technology Industry where many of you seemed to be in strong agreement.

Medtech is advancing so quickly that healthcare professionals often have to educate themselves on the advancements being made in order to make a purchasing decision or explore a change in methodology. This is a pretty monumental task, as choosing the wrong product can be costly with both dollars and lives. Traditional means to market medical devices such as brochures and pamphlets are ineffective means of communication because they only show, at best, a few static images of the device and its relationship to the body.

What’s changing the game here is the emerging field of medical animation, which tackles this problem head on, immersing the viewer in a sophisticated, dynamic and educating visual presentation.

Let’s first examine the concept of animation as an educational tool. A study conducted in 2006 at the West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine (WVSOM) designed a computer assisted instruction (CAI) program to teach students the process of DNA replication. When overlaid with the baseline data from the conventional textbook program, the CAI had pronounced levels of success and retention. Moreover, the surveys conducted throughout the study proved that the students responded more passionately to the value of the animation.

Another study at the Institut Universitaire de France in Paris found that, in addition to the positive response to 3D animations as a learning format, they were specifically more effective for communicating spatial ability for the students.

This analysis points to a fact that, in addition to its educational benefits, medical animation is simply more gripping than its two-dimensional and static counterparts. The mind fundamentally strives to create a narrative out of the world and animation presents a tight script that taps into the emotional elements that drive a purchaser’s decision making.

When research for a drug or a device is in its first funding stages or on display at a trade show, it can be difficult to illustrate the process by which it works. 3D medical animation is therefore an invaluable resource that vividly displays the new drug binding to cellular structures, a retractor smoothly making its incision into the back for spinal decompression surgery, or a screw fastening two bones together.

According to Comscore’s 2015 Whitepaper “US Digital Future in Focus,” 7 out of 8 Americans watched video online and almost all of them watched one every day. Mobile and tablets continue to increase their video-viewing numbers as well. Visually-oriented social media networks such as Instagram, Vine and Snapchat have all doubled user growth in the last 5 years and Facebook registered over 230 billion minutes of user engagement. 3D medical animation advantageously positions medtech companies at the front of this evolution in media technology.

In addition to these media benefits, medical animation can actually help cut marketing budgets, as stills can be extracted from the animation for broadcast, brochures, print ads and tradeshow displays. Animation can also help train sales representatives, increase brand awareness, inform media, educate physicians and patients, enhance a CME program and persuade investors.

And let’s not gloss over their usefulness in a tradeshow booth! Does your company rely on a big banner and some candy in a bowl to attempt to get people to stop in to your booth? You know who you are… and I won’t tell. But surely you’ve come to the conclusion on your own that it doesn’t work very well. You know what does? A large screen showing a high quality and immersive 3D animated demonstration of your product

Medical science can often seem profoundly intricate, like a Gordian knot. Advancements are being made at such a stunning rate that it would severely impair a physician or purchaser’s abilities to do their job in addition to reviewing new products, they have to read the entirety of a new procedure by text. As is evidenced by the educational studies, animation conveys complex information more quickly and in a more saturating fashion than 2D imaging or text. With such a rapidly evolving field, shouldn’t its marketing keep up?

Dave Grossman is the CEO of DG Interactive and DG Medical Animations, which create engaging websites and high-quality 3D medical animations for the medical device industry.

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