Patient education and engagement will clearly be of greater importance to the health care system under the Affordable Care Act. Short digital animations help fill this niche and one of the leading companies in the field is Blausen, which we last covered more than two years ago. We recently caught up with their CEO, Bruce Blausen, to discuss their new product and trends in the space.
Shiv Gaglani, Medgadget: Blausen is launching a new product soon – can you describe it?
Bruce Blausen: We have created a new version of our Human Atlas web 4.0. This product is unique in that it fulfills multiple problems facing Hospital/Healthcare/Wellness/EMR and educational websites.
Most sites need rich media content and they generally have that content in a separate section of the website. Usually under health library or resource tools. This is the equivalent of an encyclopedia. Our Human Atlas can reside there as well, similar to these other resources. The main problem with the current design of these sites is that they now have hundreds of pages of text and multiple subsections. If you are in a Cancer section, you generally have no idea that there are Cancer animations on the website. We now can link your animations to 1,600 keywords or EMR codes. Simply click our “Turn on 3D Animation” icon. A play button will appear next to the highlighted term. Once you click it it launches the animation in a player interface that is branded to your organization. Now people can have a rich media right when they need it.
Medgadget: How do you see the need for medical animation changing with all of the excitement around digital health?
Blausen: I have never had a person view our content and say, “We don’t want it or need it.” Everyone wants it because we are becoming a society of largely visual learners. The hurdle has always been integration. We now have APIs and the linking feature that allows people to easily add the animation directly embedded to content or as a layer. The biggest movement today is being able to deliver very specific content to each individual. By having our animations in small segments we can partner with other companies that have these solutions create and we just become part of their program. We are the medical Google maps of the future. We want to be the first place you search for a key medical or scientific term. Our goal is to provide a foundation so that you can then learn more.
Medgadget: What are your main priorities when it comes to conveying complex medical info through animation?
Blausen: So many people create beautiful animations but fail to explain the concepts accurately or in an understandable way. We focus on teaching what is normal first and foremost. You have to know the foundation of the treatment or condition. We then convey what the problem is and how that has altered the normal situation. The next step is explaining how this situation is going to be restored or fixed and then lastly we show the solution that leads back to normal conditions. This process is key to our success as educators. So many times the basic foundation is never properly explained so the solution is lost to the viewer. I had a woman watch our video on mitral valve stenosis. She said afterward with a tear in her eyes, “Thank you. I was diagnosed with this condition and searched everywhere on the Internet and it wasn’t until I watched your animation that I fully understood my condition.” To me, that is why it is important to use animation: Because it is important to those who watch it.
Medgadget: How do you maintain your competitive edge as other companies enter into the medical illustration field?
Blausen: There are different levels of competitors in this field. Some only create custom work. Others create products with animations in them. We are more interested in helping every company improve their offerings. I believe that sharing and integration with others is the key to success. You are never going to be a great company if you work alone. Our goal is global education. Our website is now viewed in every country and in 18 languages. There are so many creative companies that are developing incredible solutions and we just want to be a small part that makes it better for the end user.
Link: Blausen Medical…