Making Use of Medical Animation Done Right: Don’t Go For It Before Knowing Your Audience

The use of medical animation has become unquestionable due to its power in visualizing healthcare’s abstract nature. Now, what concerns the medical instructional designers is to find the most suitable animation types to avoid counter-effect. The medical professional can use medical animation to enhance their communication with patients, investors without technical knowledge, and training of new employees

If you are struggling with choosing a suitable type of animation for medical usage, it is important to get down to the essence and ask yourself “What would be the most beneficial one for my audience?”. In this article, we would provide you with an audience-centric approach so that you can ensure your medical animation is on the right track.

The side effects of improper use of medical animation

The key point in using medical animation is to clarify the subject matters to the target audience, and since the knowledge gap amongst different audiences in this industry is enormous, customization is a must. If you do not pay attention to these traits from the beginning, the outcomes might fail your purpose and leave your audience in confusion. Here are some common troubles that you probably jump into if not making proper use of medical animation.

  • Failure in ensuring knowledge accuracy: In Medical schools and healthcare institutions, animation plays a huge role in professional training, thus requires a high level of precision and details. If instructional designers don’t define the role of animation clearly from the beginning, chances are the output will differ a lot from your expectation. 
  • Irritation and negative emotion: Always remember that you can unintentionally provoke negative feelings with the wrong choice of type. Dental implant procedure, for example, is a common topic for both doctors-in-the-making and the public, but each group has a different expectation when researching the subjects. Realistic 3D videos are fundamental for training dentists, but they would probably cause a strong sense of uneasiness if used in public education. 

Audience – centric approach: The ultimate way to avoid unwanted side – effect and create winning medical animation

As mentioned above, a wise choice of animation type in a medical context would save you a lot of time and effort in getting the message through to your audiences. 

Let’s explore the 3 most common cases of medical animation applications based on the target audience.  

1. Use of medical animation in professional education 

Animation’s role

  • Ensure a high level of accuracy: Accuracy is of top requirement when it comes to medical education since it concerns the matter of life and death. Animation, in general, is already good in illustrating abstract concepts, yet there are types with exceptional accuracy that can supply learners with the most realistic experience. These technologies not only support doctors-to-be in getting acquainted with the working environment but also create opportunities for seasoned doctors to improve treatment quality, especially in typical fields like surgery. 
  • Visualize the unseeable: In medical, many processes are impossible for bare eyes to explore, or too complicated for newbies to comprehend. Take the drug mechanism of action (MOA) for example. MOA refers to an interaction in which a drug substance generates its effect inside of the body, so only with the help of animation can the learners come to understand the concept fully.  


  • 3D animation: 3D medical animation is suitable for professional training purposes because of its capacity in illustrating physiological, molecular, and anatomical concepts. Meanwhile, 2D animation and motion graphics, which can be feasible in general contexts, probably are not enough to communicate specialized knowledge. 
  • Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality: Interactive technology like VR and AR give the learners a sense of the real-world by uncovering underbody organs, micro parts, and mechanisms of them functioning in humans with a very precise, very dimensional in aesthetic narration.

2. Use of medical animation for patient education and public awareness

Roles of animation: 

  • Bridge the health literacy gap: Health literacy is the ability of patients to utilize information to make good decisions regarding their health condition. Without proper communication, patients with limited health literacy might misunderstand their physicians’ recommendations, health education materials, or discharge instructions.  To avoid troubles, many medical institutions have long brought X-rays, MRI, and static illustrations into use, but an animation with its huge potential in visualizing complex ideas is the perfect bridge between doctors and commoners.
  • Explain complex concepts in the form of a fool-proof, friendly manner: The key purpose of raising public awareness is to make them realize the importance of some certain events or procedures, then guide them to act as anticipated. Meanwhile, patient education aims at helping patients to follow a pre-designed treatment process for a better health condition. When approaching these audiences, instructional designers do not need to focus too much on the depth of subjects’ understanding, but rather pay attention to ensure they stay aware.  Hence, animation styles here should be friendly, visually pleasant, and include factors that drive people’s attention.


  • Motion Graphics: Motion graphics are well-known for their vividness and capability in clarifying complex chains of information. It would be a good format for videos that aims at introducing healthcare products’ functions or instructional purpose. 
  • 2D Character Animation: Animation for the patient and public education usually introduces day-to-day scenarios to guide the audience on how to behave and react in particular cases, and that is where 2D animation comes in. Since character-based animated videos are outstanding in storytelling techniques, the content should be able to convey a clear key takeaway message with a simple structure. 

This video is a perfect example of effectively applying animation in public health education. Character designs have high representativeness regarding races and identities. Also, the storyline is clear and exciting enough, so the audience can watch the video with ease while still being able to absorb information naturally.

F.Learning Studio – Academic Integrity | Medical Education Animation 


Many public health campaigns now go for the emotional approach, since strong, relevant feelings can increase the audience’s engagement. That said, it is important to find a form of display that can live up to this requirement. Here, we suggest hand-drawn.

Hand-drawn is an art style under the umbrella term 2D animation. It possesses the storytelling capability of 2D vector animation but is more advanced in creating emotion. Besides, the style is unique and lively. If your budget allows, do not hesitate to choose the hand-drawn style for your next public awareness animated videos. Also, remember that the right choice of music contributes well to the storyline and helps gain the attention of the audience.

Let us take a look at this video about coping with COVID-19 anxiety. The art style is exclusive, and it creates a fun, casual atmosphere that contradicts the serious topic mentioned. This arrangement brings the audience a sense of relief, which is exactly what the creators recommend when facing COVID-19.

F.Learning Studio – Covid-19 Anxiety: Coping with the Coronavirus

3. Use of medical animation for nurse education:

Animation’s roles: 

  • Demonstrate day-to-day scenarios: Unlike animation for professionals, nurse training focuses more on patient care protocol. Nursing educational content, thus, needs to be transparent and comprehensive enough so the learners can easily apply dry knowledge into real-life situations. Animation is no doubt a suitable option for getting information across to learners because visuals make a better impact on a human’s brain in comparison to plain words.
  • Support in exam preparation: Medical animation can help pre-nursing students remember the vast area of knowledge covered in the NCLEX-RN test. Yes, moving images and outstanding visuals can work as a memorization technique. One notion for instructional designers in nursing preparation companies, in this case, is to optimize your content and create a script that is clear enough to turn into animation.


  • Whiteboard animation: At a limited period of education, nursing students might inevitably forget the knowledge they have just absorbed. As an instructional designer, this is a valuable insight to help you pick the animation type that can tackle the hardship. Whiteboard animation is a wise choice. With its simple yet explicit features, the whiteboard can help nursing students easy access to important information. 

Hereunder is the whiteboard animated video about the symptoms of heart failures and how to cure it. As you can see, the heart is designed in detail but are still pleasant to look at.

Whiteboard Medical Animation – How animation work in medical training
  • 2D Character Animation: 2D animations with characters are reasonable choices thanks to its modern, attractive appearance. 3D might be favorable for its realistic and lifelike, but it is more suitable for contexts that require a whole other level of accuracy as mentioned before. Besides, with the same benefits received, 3D animation costs much more than 2D. 

Take a look at Simple Nursing’s nurse training video. Such power of 2D animation aligns to increase online courses’ engagement that the company aims at. 

F.Learning Studio – Nurse Educational Animation about Blood Thinners

Recommend reading:


In making use of medical animation, remember to put your audience first before jumping into a type or another. In the end, they will be the ones to decide if your content is qualified enough. Also, if you are still unsure if you opt for the right choice or not, feel free to contact us. F.Learning Studio is an animation studio specializing in education and the medical field. We provide a free 30-minute consulting session. Do not hesitate to book us a call or contact us here.

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