Wednesday, July 08, 2009

How are anatomical charts helpful to doctors when working with patients?

The anatomical chart that seems to be strategically located in almost every patient examination room can certainly be an asset to a doctor when describing any type of skeletal, nervous, muscle or body system condition or disorder to a patient. Since medical terms and medical language is often outside the scope of the average person's understanding, using the chart as a reference point can help the patient clearly understand what the doctor is saying without having to ask for definitions and additional information.
Anatomical charts can also be a terrific way to explain to children about health conditions in a much less threatening way. Since many children and adults are visual learners, allowing them or encouraging them to actually see what the physician is talking about is a great resource that is often not used enough.
What specific features on anatomical charts make them easy to read and understand?
Perhaps the most obvious answer to this question is that any type of color coding or three dimensional aspect of anatomical charts will make them easier for both medical staff as well as patients and students to read and follow along. Three dimensional charts allow specific parts or systems on the chart to really stand out from the background. Generally the three dimensional aspects include the nervous system, muscular system and the skeleton, with each respective part being elevated above the general body diagram.
Other options to look for in anatomical charts include durable, laminated or plastic surfaces that allow for easy handling. Charts that are lightweight and flimsy will not only have to be replaced much more frequently but they typically won't be three dimensional or easy to see and follow. Grommets or rivets pre-set into the anatomical charts make them easy to take on and off of the wall, plus they also help the poster to hang straight and level against the wall. Charts may also come with translations, particularly into Spanish. These charts are perfect for patient areas where English may not the be the first language of some or most of the patients. Charts with both English and Spanish are great for both languages and prevent having to duplicate the posters on the wall.
How detailed do some anatomical charts actually get? Anatomical charts come in several different formats from very basic with just the major body components, muscle groups and nervous system parts through to very detailed and highly defined. Generally for most physician's offices and examination rooms the general charts are sufficient for most discussions and explanations.
For individuals that want very specific types of charts with highly detailed and individualized drawings of different components of each system these options are also available. Typically these types of anatomical charts have a smaller overall general drawing of the human body or specific system, then larger, expanded drawings and labels of each component of the system. These charts are very handy for references for working with patients and they are also great for lecture rooms and classrooms as well.

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