Viral Challenge: TV vs. Real life Doctors

Uncompressed version: https://www.dropbox.com/s/f7614gir17x60vd/INFOGRAPHICFINAL.pdf

I commonly get asked if ER, Grey’s Anatomy or House accurately portrays what it’s like to be an MD working in a hospital.  Because of public fascination with TV medical dramas, I thought I could leverage that curiosity to communicate an important point.

Multiple studies have shown that television inaccurately displays medical outcomes such that the general public has developed a false assurance of what modern medicine can do for them in emergency situations. On TV and in the movies, the survival rate for cardiac arrest is 30X higher than what it is in actuality. Characters on TV often wake up from an arrest with no neurological deficits or long-term side effects, and this is completely inaccurate.  As a society that overspends on unnecessary end-of-life treatments and avoids discussing death, media portrayal of medical outcomes can cause false hope and make communication with patients even more difficult.

The infographic uses images from the show to communicate fun statistics about drama and love lives in order to get people’s attention. The statistical information contrasting medical outcome differences between TV and real life is displayed prominently at the very top of the graph followed by the information that is intended for entertainment. Each section of the graphic is based on a separate research study. At the end, the message of the infographic is summarized in the phrase “Medical drama’s don’t tell the WHOLE story”

The viral strategy for this infographic is:

1) Use pop-culture medical drama to communicate sobering statistics about aggressive medical care.  2) Use the massive audience of the show Grey’s Anatomy (and other popular dramas) to facilitate the spread of the infographic 3) Use the medical community to help spread the infographic via their social media pages 4) Keep people reading and interested by offering serious medical data visualization mixed with more light-hearted research data on physician characteristics

Spread of the infographic can be measured by looking at facebook shares, tweets, downloads and forum posts. In order to maximize sharing, this image can be posted in forums for individual shows and can be tweeted about during airing of Grey’s Anatomy or House with a hashtag.  It can also be posted in medical association websites. With the use of this infographic, the results of medical outcome studies will reach many more people outside of the medical community.

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