Graphic Healthcare: Art, Science and Technology

April 2021

  • Thomas S. Deisboeck, Harvard Medical School

Executive Summary: The ‘doctor-patient’ relationship is asymmetric in that levels of expertise, knowledge of technical jargon, social status, the ability to help and the dependence on it are distinctively different between the two sides. Engaging patients (and their caregivers) more actively is crucial in achieving treatment plan ‘buy in’, an essential prerequisite for increasing the likelihood of achieving the desired treatment goal. In identifying novel engagement strategies and tools, creative, interactive visualizations incl. cartooning, comics, manga and animation may offer as of yet untapped benefits. The scope of potential use case scenarios ranges from securing informed patient consent, to population health management and trial recruitment - across areas as diverse as pediatrics, geriatrics, mental illness, terminally ill patients and patients for whom English is the 2nd language. Relevant technology-based approaches may incorporate cognitive neurosciences into gaming using cartooning and animation, embedding AI and behavioral economics into visual storytelling, as well as in-home interaction through IoT and VR technology, and it will require developing quantitative metrics to properly assess impact en route to creating a sustainable business model. The creative tension that exists at the interface of art, healthcare & cutting-edge digital technology may help advance paradigm-shifting concepts towards the market. Bringing experts with a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints together at Radcliffe, the seminar aims to describe concrete opportunities but also inherent challenges – both essential to move the nascent field forward.

Do We Need to Draw You a Picture? Yes, or Maybe a Satiric Cartoon (Harvard Gazette, 10/29/21)