To the Editor:
As first year resident physicians, we are still at the beginning of our journey to becoming conscientious consumers of research and data. This, combined with our appropriately basic knowledge and context for anesthesiology topics at this stage of training, makes it somewhat difficult to envision how to apply concepts from today’s research to our future practices. One page of Anesthesiology that we can turn to in this early stage of training is the “Infographics in Anesthesiology” section.
Infographics can distill complex concepts or large amounts of data into easily understood and easily remembered visual representations. The recall ability of visually presented information is often explained by the picture superiority effect. The picture superiority effect suggests that 6.5 times more information is retained after 3 days when presented with a relevant picture compared with text alone.
Medical students and medical educational companies today have harnessed the power of the picture superiority effect. The most popular resources are picture-based and video-based programs aimed at increasing retention. Anecdotally, many medical students find these visual learning tools to be far more effective than reading traditional textbooks. Trainees are now entering residency from the highly visual-based learning environment of medical school. As with all resources, caution must be practiced when interpreting infographics, as a recent cross-sectional study demonstrated that the majority of infographics do not sufficiently report study findings.
Integrating infographics from trusted sources of information as Anesthesiology has done is a great way to meet our new generation of trainees in the way that they have learned. As a new resident myself, I find the infographics efficient and memorable. As our generation works toward becoming fully fledged anesthesiologists, I look forward to the ways in which we will incorporate our propensity for visual learning into residency and beyond.