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Supporting shared-decision making and training in medicine through animation


Service Design

Visual Communication Design

Failing to adequately inform patients before consent for treatment has long been a problem in medicine, one that we have done little to effectively address. Since Montgomery the number of legal pay-outs due to a failure to inform has increased sharply. ExplainMyProcedure was created to support patient understanding and encourage communication and shared-decision making.


ExplainMyProcedure supports understanding through animation. The educational videos explain different medical and surgical procedures bringing out the benefits and risks, weighing them up and considering the alternatives communicated simply and in a language people can choose. Each animation is embedded in the journey from referral to procedure without the need for any new software or hardware, improving the consent pathway to help meet professional standards to empower patients and to reduce the likelihood of litigation.


Once a doctor has offered a procedure, and the patient has returned home, a letter or email arrives allowing access to their animation, providing unlimited view, time to reflect, to question, to share with family and to develop a dialogue. An automatic audit trail is created before consent is sought.


EMP educates not only patients but staff too to support shared-understanding and shared decision making. It is worth mentioning that there currently is no animation supported consent service other than EMP, and that EMP is associated an increase in patient understanding to over 80% and reduction in complaints and incidents due to failure to inform by 70%.

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Our research and in-depth interviews with stakeholders have shown that most patients do not read the written information provided to them prior to the day of consent, nor do they spend a sufficient amount of time reading the consent form on the day of consent. Many patients, especially those coming from emergency pathways, do not have enough time to reflect on the information given during the consent process. Even when accompanied by family members or caregivers who speak English, patients who do not speak English well often find themselves in a position to give consent without fully understanding the procedure. 

The service is initially delivered via a webpage. Key insights on user accessibility were obtained after role-playing, user journey mapping, interviews, and usability testing. Time constraints, limited internet access, and some patients not knowing how to use their devices resulted in only about 50% uptake. We introduced video books that do not require internet access, and have been installed in pre-assessment areas and on the wards, resulting in 90% access across all language demographics. Interactions are limited to language options only for optimal usability.


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