A Scoping Review of Animated Video s Effect on Individual Health Knowledge

Review Article

Austin Med Sci. 2021; 6(1): 1048.

A Scoping Review of Animated Video’s Effect on Individual Health Knowledge

Keller MM1,2*, Lucas T3,4, Zachariah M5, Feeley T6, Tumiel Berhalter L7,8 and Kayler L2,9

1Department of Community Health and Behavior, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, USA

2Transplant and Kidney Care Regional Center of Excellence, Erie County Medical Center, USA

3Division of Public Health, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, USA

4Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, USA

5Department of Medicine, Wayne State University, USA

6Department of Communication, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, USA

7Department of Family Medicine, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, USA

8Clinical and Translational Science Institute, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, USA

9Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, USA

*Corresponding author: Keller MM, Department of Community Health and Behavior, University at Buffalo, State University of New York, 330 Kimball Tower, 401 Goodyear Rd, Buffalo, NY, 14215, USA

Received: July 14, 2021; Accepted: July 29, 2021; Published: August 05, 2021


Objectives: Animated video has the potential to both educate and persuade patient audiences. This scoping review considers use of animated educational video’s effect on individual-level knowledge in order to inform its application to kidney transplant education and interest among patients and their social network.

Methods: A scoping review of standalone animated video studies published before December 1, 2020, was conducted in six research databases.

Results: Fifteen of 2,066 studies were included. Eight studies were RCTs. The others were pre-post and between-group designs. Studies focused on multiple health topics. Video duration spanned 2 to 16 minutes and video delivery was generally clinic-based. The majority of the publications did not report the use of a learning theory or patient input to inform video development. Significant gains in participant knowledge, including among at-risk groups, were reported in 80% of studies. Improvements in concerns, attitudes, and anxiety were also reported.

Conclusion: While few studies applied standalone animated video to adult patient health education, existing research suggests that standalone animation is a powerful and efficient instructional format for a wide range of learners, with added benefit for reducing anxiety. Practice Implications: These characteristics of animation potentially could be useful to improve transplant education delivery.

Keywords: Kidney transplant; Education; Multimedia; Animation; Video; Health care knowledge


Kidney transplantation remains persistently underutilized, but high-quality education may increase patient interest and capacity to obtain a transplant [1]. The benefits of educating patients can be amplified by also educating patients’ social networks, who can enhance shared decision-making, provide social support, and very often directly provide living kidney donation [2]. Underlying a critical need to better utilize kidney transplantation, many patients report that they do not receive sufficient information from their medical provider [3], and even less information reaches their social support network [3,4]. A key feature of these deficits is that many traditional transplant education techniques rely on verbal explanations and written resources, such as patient-facing informational brochures. Yet, transplant reading materials can be challenging to comprehend, especially for low-literacy learners and for friends and family members who were not previously exposed to verbal education. Consequently, patients and their friends and families may seek additional information from websites. Although web-based materials are both widely available and often enhanced through use of multimedia, transplant websites likewise may be confusing, overwhelming, and difficult to comprehend for many, as they are typically written at the college literacy level [5]. Additionally, chronic disease populations beleaguered with fatigue, motor deficits, and vision impairment may be unable to navigate and synthesize information on websites [6]. Finally, many kidney transplantation websites are not yet optimized for viewing on small devices [7]. Smartphones are currently the sole source of internet for 20% of Americans [8].

Due to emerging digital technologies, a potentially powerful format for online learning is animated videos, which are increasingly low cost, can be efficiently produced, and are often readily scalable. Moreover, animated videos can be optimized for release on small devices and on social media channels to extend the reach of information. Although animated video may offer a substantial opportunity to better relay kidney transplantation information to prospective recipients and donors, there is little existing information on use of animated video in kidney transplantation in relation to knowledge uptake. Therefore, we conducted a scoping review of published studies evaluating standalone animated video in adult health education to identify: (1) intervention design and delivery features; (2) impact on individual knowledge and other outcomes; and (3) whether Randomized Controlled Trials (RCTs) using animated video as a teaching strategy demonstrate greater effectiveness than interventions without animated video.


Study design and literature search strategy

A scoping literature review was conducted using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis Protocols (PRISMA-ScR) [9]. This was aimed at acquiring adequate information about existing interventions to establish a basis for understanding the relative utility of standalone animated video to communicate health information. To identify relevant studies, we searched three major electronic databases, PubMed, MEDLINE, and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL), through December 2020. In addition, Google Scholar was searched to identify any additional literature not found in these databases. We also manually searched within two pre-selected journals particularly relevant to our research: The Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) and Internet Interventions. To ensure that we included all standalone animated video interventions that have thus far been evaluated, different combinations of broad keywords and medical subject heading (MeSH) terms were formulated. The search strategy was discussed with two experts on epidemiological and transplant studies (LK, TF) to finalize the list of keywords (Figure 1).