Patient Education on Pre-operative Anemia: Using Character Animation to Promote Patient Activation

  • Tracy Xiang
  • Katerina Pavenski
  • Shelley Wall


Preoperative anemia affects up to 76% of the surgical population. One of the strongest predictors of allogenic blood transfusions (ABT), preoperative anemia is associated with worse patient outcomes including post-operative morbidity and mortality. Patient blood management (PBM) is a multidisciplinary program developed to address preoperative anemia and prevent unnecessary transfusions. Though PBM has been shown to reduce ABT and improve patient outcomes, many barriers to PBM implementation exist. Among these is patients’ lack of awareness and insufficient patient-centered educational resources that could improve patient activation.

Previous studies suggest that character-driven stories are especially effective in sign-posting access to health resources among different demographics. However, due to production limitations and adherence to current motion graphic trends (e.g., whiteboard animation and text animation), character-driven stories tend to be neglected in patient education. We propose to develop a patient education animation focused on three representative preoperative anemia patients.  The narrative follows the characters’ health journeys from diagnosis to treatment, as we use a combination of 2D and 3D character animation, motion graphics, and data visualization to clarify some of the most common misconceptions and knowledge gaps around pre-operative anemia. We aim for the animation to achieve two main communication goals: 1) to educate all preoperative patients on the risk and benefits of blood transfusion; and 2) to improve public awareness of the Patient Blood Management Program (PBM), thereby increasing patient activation and enhancing preoperative care outcomes.

Upon completion, this project will be the first character-driven educational animation addressing PBM. Evaluation of this project will provide further evidence of the effectiveness of character-driven storytelling in inspiring patient activation, which will enable more biomedical communicators to produce better patient-education resources.

How to Cite
Xiang, T., Pavenski, K., & Wall, S. (2019). Patient Education on Pre-operative Anemia: Using Character Animation to Promote Patient Activation. Journal of Biocommunication, 43(2).
Published Abstracts - Poster Presentations