Worldwide health illiteracy has been identified as an issue. The majority of people have a rough idea of what they have to do to improve their health, with the standard be active and eat healthily is where most draw the line. However it is a minority that actually understand why they are advised to make certain lifestyle choices. Even after diagnosis of a long term condition many individuals don’t truly understand what their condition is, why the interventions taken are or were necessary and what is going to happen in the future.
The ability to visualise what is going on without the use of confusing medical terms allows individuals to understand. True understanding provides opportunity to reduce anxiety and confusion related to conditions; removes the feeling that one has no control over their situation; and in many populations understanding may actually increase adherence to treatments and medication through recognition of the potential physiological consequences of poor adherence.
I’m a firm believer that individuals deserve to know exactly what is going on with their bodies, if medical terms are confusing then alternative options must be sought after in order to inform individuals of their health status. That is if the individual in question expresses a desire to learn more, understandable knowing more may be stressful for some individuals.
For many, the perception of cardiovascular disease is that the heart is not functioning correctly. Many don’t understand what is truly happening, what medication is doing, how lifestyle interventions can help and why in some cases, surgery may be required.
Nucleus Medical Media are attempting to improve health literacy relating to cardiovascular disease utilising animations and graphical representation of exactly what is going on within the body. Animations are supported with easily understandable explanations allowing all populations to understand and visualise. Individuals are presented with animations outlining the progression of atherosclerosis and how it may lead to a heart attack, interventions that may be taken and why certain decisions may be made. The iHeart Touch app is free for download from the Apple store.
I’m of the opinion that there is a need for greater developments within this field to educate individuals on information relating to individual health, through animation, interactive material and gaming the opportunity is presented to display information in a modality which is appealing to a greater proportion of the population. It’s time to utilise public interests and create a desirable health education and information.
Jack Barton (Researcher, Rescon Ltd)