Visual communication is incredibly powerful and often a cathartic process for the illustrator. Dr. Mike Natter’s work in Progress Notes: Cancer (seen above) captures the tension and struggle he’s experiencing in delivering bad news. Patients are also increasingly using visual communication to explain their symptoms and diseases to their doctors. “Show, don’t tell: How visuals improve healthcare visits” describes how imagery is employed to describe and document the patient’s journey.
It was interesting to note in the article that EMR systems are expanding in their ability to include photographs and paper drawings (thanks to dermatologists and surgeons). Furthermore, OurNotes is an initiative recently launched “letting patients, caregivers, and providers jointly create clinical notes and care plans within the shared electronic health record.”
For those interested in using visual communication tools with their patients, drawMD is a free app that you can download and test!