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The Power of Visualization

oralcarcinoma.jpgThe power of visualization.

As it turns out, we tend to learn better by interpreting information using more than one sense.

And a new study out in JAMA Internal Medicine continues to drive home this point.

Images on cigarette packaging showing smoking’s negative effects (“pictorial warnings”) were more effective than standard text warnings in getting active smokers to start to quit, according to new research out of UNC-Chapel Hill. The 4-week trial included close to 2,000 smokers randomized to receive packs of cigarettes with graphic images or the current text-only Surgeon General warning.

The images included rotting teeth, a side-by-side comparison of a healthy and diseased lung, and a man smoking out of his tracheotomy hole. ((**Pictured above is an oral squamous cell carcinoma from VisualDx's medical image library.**)) Up to 80% of oral SCCs are associated with cigarette smoking.

The study’s numbers were modest. During the trial, 40% of smokers with the graphic image packs attempted to quit versus 34% of smokers with the standard U.S. warning. 5.7% of the participants with the image packs actually stopped smoking for at least a week by trial’s end, compared with 3.8% of smokers with the text warnings. But researchers believe that if image packs were implemented across the country, the numbers could be significant.

The negative health effects of smoking have been widely known for years. But it seems actually seeing the effects at the point of deciding to purchase a pack or pull out an actual cigarette to smoke makes somewhat of an impact.

Visualization is at the core of VisualDx. And while we’re not in the business of smoking cessation, we are in the business of reducing diagnostic error and increasing patient safety. We do that by offering the world’s best and biggest medical image library, presenting variations of disease and visualizing disease through Sympticons – icons that use the human body to demonstrate the organs the disease affects and its symptoms – to enhance physician recognition and patient understanding.

About VisualDx

VisualDx is an award-winning diagnostic clinical decision support system that has become the standard electronic resource at more than half of U.S. medical schools and more than 1,500 hospitals and institutions nationwide.  VisualDx combines clinical search with the world's best medical image library, plus medical knowledge from experts to help with diagnosis, treatment, self-education, and patient communication. Expanding to provide diagnostic decision support across General Medicine, the new VisualDx brings increased speed and accuracy to the art of diagnosis. Learn more at