A doctor is supposed to be able to express himself enough for the patient to understand him; and at the same time, be capable enough to understand the patient to know what the suffering that afflicts him is. In graphic medicine, this process of understanding between patient and doctor is fundamental.
In case you didn’t know, medicine is 60% communication; because if a doctor is not empathetic enough to be able to communicate adequately with the patient, the accuracy of the diagnosis is at risk. 30% of the profession in medicine has to do with scientific or academic knowledge and 20% with ethics; that not because it is less percentage becomes less important.
Now medical records are personalized to the point of becoming iconic comics that serve as models to raise awareness among other patients with the same conditions. Patients co-create with their doctor the narratives of their disease which are of vital importance to achieve a good diagnosis and hence be able to provide an effective treatment.
The objective of graphic medicine is to design innovative technological tools that contribute to the transfer of knowledge in a sensitive way, regarding the communicative relationship that a doctor and a patient need so that the patient evolves positively in daily clinical practice; having its best results especially in oncology and psychiatry.
Instructions for graphic medicine
The training is fundamentally directed towards the practice of medicine at an emotional and communicative level without ceasing to be professional. Basically, it is about being able to simplify clinical evidence to the point that it can be explained in a simple and educational way to patients, to make them aware of their health status, preventive cases and possible solutions.
Graphic medicine manages to renew medical pedagogy and the transmission of knowledge from a visual approach very much in the style of the current of the activation of emotional intelligence. This new pedagogical form is steeped in visual artistic techniques in order to create communicative solutions to real problems without being alarmist.
To put knowledge and evidence into action for the well-being of patients, graphic medicine has turned out to be a very good option in recent years. Clinical logic is now painted in info graphics, illustrations, drawings, comics or story boards that are as useful for residents as for patients.
Defining graphic medicine is not that simple, since the same professionals who are developing it has not yet agreed since 2012. However, there are already congresses on graphic medicine to be able to give more and more body and support to this new tool.
The idea of all this is the integration of an interdisciplinary team that helps improves inter-hospital relations and the transmission of knowledge in a simple, effective and pleasant way. Emotionally, this is very positive for the evolution of the patients, the prevention of diseases and for the healthy working relationship between the hospital staff; which includes from the cleaning staff to the most recognized doctor who may be working in the place.
What do you need for graphic medicine?
Combining what narrative medicine is, which seeks to put the patient’s personality at the center, graphic medicine seeks a closer relationship with the patient; but from visual art. Comics can reveal the human side of both the patient and the doctor so that they can identify in a positive way.
Doctors often eliminate important information from the details that the patient expresses; because it seems that the patient is talking to the wall while he recounts her suffering. The humanization of the practice of medicine is the main value in graphic medicine, with this being able to give patients a voice in the face of the coldness of many professionals who forget something as simple as looking the patient in the eye when he speaks.
Tips for graphic medicine
The rise of graphic pathologies, before the arrival of the coronavirus, was breast cancer. These cartoons not only help us prevent diseases, but also help patients understand a little better what is happening to them and what could happen to them; because many feel overwhelmed by the details that their doctor gives them in technical language.
For this reason, it is vital that the doctor is more sensitive to these situations and if he cannot explain in a simple way, then use the image, because an image says more than a thousand words. So, now it is taking very seriously to integrate as part of the professional training of doctors a comic’s course to develop basic soft, communication and diagnostic skills to promote empathy in medical practice.
Finally, graphic medicine helps promote the humanization of medicine from social justice, helping to raise awareness of how to give bad news or bad prognosis to patients or their families; improving the way of creating preventive awareness of diseases, helping to better understand the symptoms expressed by patients and, above all, that doctors sensitize with visual art their way of expressing their point of view regarding a patient’s conditions.