How One Doctor Uses Medical Animation to Save Time & Make More Money

george_crawfordDr. George Crawford is a General and Thoracic Surgeon at The Crawford Clinic in Anniston, AL. He’s also a valued Nucleus Medical Review Board Member and client. He uses an Apple TV/wall display set-up loaded with various Nucleus Animation Library animations to educate his patients on various diagnostic and surgical procedures. We had the chance recently to sit down with Dr. Crawford to learn more about his techniques and experience educating patients.

Clearly patient education is high on your priority list. What are your key objectives? 

In short, I’ve found that patients don’t ask questions. When I was at Emory during my residency, I would walk in to a room and say, “You have pancreatic cancer; we’re going to have to remove your pancreas.” Almost 50% of the patients would say, “Sure, let’s go get it!” No questions about the disease or procedure. So, my key objective is to be sure that, even though they’re not asking questions, I answer the questions they should be asking. That’s where the Nucleus animations help most in my practice now.

What benefit have you realized from using the animations? 

I save about 5 to 7 minutes per patient by having them watch Nucleus animations. Over the course of a year, if I only show one animation per week, that justifies the cost of the annual license fee for that animation. It’s not just a matter of me saving time having to go over the material. It’s also better for the patient. In most diagnostic situations, there are typically 10 to 15 minutes when patients are in the exam room and I’m not there. So, not only does it reduce the amount of time I need to spend going over the material, but it also leaves them with the assurance that the visit was well coordinated and meaningful. It’s a win-win.

Do you use any print materials routinely for this information? 

For bariatric surgery, for example, I used to use a booklet that was provided by the hospital. When I would ask, I found out that a majority of the patients were throwing them away. They often did not have time to read the material. Video is simply easier to consume and understand. The bariatric video that I show for five minutes in the visit contains everything that they need to know.

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Do you find that this is cost effective for you? How do you determine that?

If I typically spend 10 minutes per visit with patients, but I can cut that down 5 or 7 minutes by using animations, it actually makes me money. It’s simple and pays for itself. I can see more patients and actually improve communications using the animated videos.

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