Q: What is medical interactive media?
A: Medical interactive media are interactive applications such as touchscreen kiosks, video games, or virtual reality (VR) experiences that teach medical science concepts like the molecular basis of a disease or how a therapeutic molecule is thought to work. The “interactive” part means that the user makes selections and takes actions that enhance the learning experience.
Q: Who uses medical interactive media and why?
A: Scientific affairs and medical communications managers commission interactive media (software applications) to engage congress booth visitors and inform them about disease state information relevant to their therapeutic area. Depending on the jurisdiction, drug mechanism of action may also be covered. Often times, interactive applications will be repurposed for use on disease state websites.
Marketing and Product managers use interactive applications to engage healthcare professionals and teach them about therapeutic mechanism of action at congress booths and on product websites.
Medical science liaisons and sales representatives use interactive tablet apps (iPad, for example) to demonstrate to potential customers how medical technologies and devices work.
Q: What makes a good interactive experience at a congress booth?
A: Offer visitors a unique way to experience your content. Keep it concise and short. The longer the experience, the more likely users are to leave before it’s finished and the longer others have to wait in line to use it. Also, keep the introduction short! Our data show that users frequently exit an interactive during a lengthy introductory video or tutorial.
Q: What do clients say is different about AXS Studio?
A: Our clients say that we’re unlike other agencies they’ve used in terms of our medical knowledge and our attention to detail. The words most used to describe our work are beautiful and accurate.
Q: Why hire AXS Studio instead of another digital agency?
A: While many healthcare agencies produce interactive applications for their pharma and device clients, most don’t use medically-trained artists to develop the content and visual assets. Instead, they use “generalists” without specialized science training. As a result, it’s common to see interactive content with obvious holes in the science; for example, how tissues, cells and molecules are depicted. While this may not be an issue for lay audiences, the mistakes can be glaringly obvious to healthcare professionals and scientists.
In contrast, at AXS Studio, all of our content and visual assets are created by medically-trained digital artists. Each holds a Masters in Biomedical Communications (M.Sc. BMC) from the University of Toronto, one of only four CAAHEP-accredited programs. This specialized training is the reason AXS delivers interactive applications with a higher degree of accuracy than typical agencies. For our clients, this translates to credibility with a scientific audience.
Q: What determines the cost of medical interactive media?
A: A primary determinant is the number of stages, or levels, in an interactive application. These are synonymous with chapters and correlate to the overall length of the experience. The amount and complexity of 3D visual content is another important factor, as is the degree of electronics customization required to create a unique experience.
Q: I see your booth interactives have some pretty interesting physical structures. Does AXS build those kiosks?
A: We don’t build the kiosks, but we do supply design drawings to your booth vendor and work with them to ensure everything is built to specifications. We do design and fabricate certain custom items (for instance, our VR microscope) and custom electronics. We also work our clients’ audio-visual vendors to determine optimal hardware and pretest their applications on computers and monitors being used for an exhibit. We ensure everything is tested and production-ready ahead of its release.
Q: What is a wireframe?
A: A wireframe is a planning document that describes the flow of the interactive experience, including input from and feedback to the user. Wireframes vary in detail from company to company. An AXS wireframe functions the way a storyboard does for an animation. We include drawings of the proposed visuals, onscreen text and audio. This document is used by our digital artists and developers to create the application and also by our clients for content review and approval.
Q: Can I provide my own wireframe?
A: A wireframe serves two purposes: 1. To previsualize the entire experience for our client, and 2. A planning document detailing the structure and functionality of the application for our artists and developers. We will gladly review your wireframe to see if our team can use in our workflow. If not, we can build on it to create a document that works well for our team and yours.
Q: How long does a medical interactive application take to make?
A: 3 to 6 months, depending on its complexity. This encompasses content development, experience design, asset creation and development, and includes rounds of client review at the following stages: script, wireframe, alpha and beta application. When we prepare a project estimate, we include a timeline, with key milestones.
Q: Is a dedicated facilitator necessary to run an interactive kiosk at my booth?
A: We strongly recommend assigning a facilitator to engage visitors and assist them with the application. While our interactive experience are designed to be used without support — we keep them simple to use and provide onscreen and audio instructions — the human touch always results in more visitors and better experiences. Many companies used trained facilitators for this purpose — friendly, likeable people who enjoy engaging with strangers.
Q: Can I supply a voice-over script?
A: Yes, we regularly work with scripts provided to us. After we review your script, we can advise on how optimize it for the experience we’re designing. A general rule of thumb when composing your script: 100 words of voice-over for every minute of content.
Q: Do I need to supply a medical content expert if I work with AXS Studio?
A: While we welcome input from our clients’ medical experts and opinion leaders, it’s not a requirement. A key advantage of working with AXS is our inhouse medical science expertise. Our content developers and digital artists all hold Masters degrees in Biomedical Communications (M.Sc.BMC), which entails formal training in pathology, physiology, anatomy, cell biology and molecular biology. On staff we have four Board Certified Medical Illustrators (CMIs) and have been visualizing complex medical science processes for a discerning healthcare professional audience for over 15 years.
Q: A lot of companies “offshore” interactive development to low cost producers. Do you do this?
A: No. We do all design and development in-house in our Toronto, Canada studio with specially trained medical digital artists and developers. This allows us tight control of quality and timelines to ensure we consistently meet deadlines. This is especially important when working within fixed conference timelines. Furthermore, unlike many services and products that can be offshored to cut costs, the interactive experiences we create require highly specialized knowledge. Our content creators and digital artists each holds a Master of Science in Biomedical Communications (M.Sc.BMC). This specialized training is what allows us to design rich interactive experiences that explain medical science more clearly and accurately than teams without formal medical training. There are companies in North America that use low cost foreign outsourcing for medical interactive applications. If you are looking to hire one of these business, we recommend seeking information on the science training of their creative and production team.
Q: Can images from my interactive application be repurposed for other purposes like a website and print?
A: Yes. We can “capture” images from any interactive experience. The limiting factor is resolution, which determines how big you can make the image. Most captured images are sufficiently big for small print materials and slide presentations. If you require a large image — e.g. for a booth panel — we can create this and charge separately for the output. We can also render images of individual elements from an interactive — e.g. a ligand and receptor binding.
Q: How do you work with clients to navigate MLR (medical-legal-regulatory) reviews?
A: Our content creators ensure that all material we provide for MLR review has been referenced from the scientific literature. Depending on a client’s procedures, we may provide a bookmarked and annotated PDF with supporting passages linking back to the annotated wireframe. This allows reviewers to easily reference supporting evidence. We will also call in to review sessions, at our client’s request, to address questions about the proposed interactive content.