Top 10 Medical Animated Explainer Videos

26.04.2022 Animation
Molly Howe

Even the most basic medical information can be difficult for the average person to understand and interpret. Communication barriers, seen so frequently in the medical field, especially between physician and patient often go unnoticed. This has a detrimental effect on the health and safety of patients. Studies have shown that those with low comprehension abilities are most likely to suffer poor health outcomes. Failure to digest medical information means patients are less likely to understand their conditions, are worse at managing their health, and are largely unaware of treatment routes. It is for this reason why medical animated explainer videos are so important.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (2012) guidance says all patients, carers, and families should be able to fully participate in their care. Animated medical explainers can help to create a more accessible framework for the communication of medical information.


What are Medical Explainer Videos?

Medical explainer videos are designed to educate viewers by presenting simplified information relating to a specific medical condition, treatment, procedure, or process. They make comprehension easier for those who are not medically trained, offering comfort and understanding to those experiencing confusion, fear, or anxiety relating to their condition. 

They should focus on accessibility, ensuring patient-friendly terminology is used to work around language barriers and comprehension levels.

Aside from this, explainers in general can:

  • Bring focus to healthcare brands
  • Enrich social media presence 
  • Boost SEO rankings
  • Attract wide audiences 
  • Grab attention to raise awareness
  • Offer an alternative to wordy leaflets or letters
  • Tell engaging stories
  • Provide a Call to Action

For more general information regarding explainer videos take a look at this article.

Why Animation?

There is no shortage of medical videos out there. How do you make yours stand out? It is important to choose the right video medium. 

Animation can quickly grab your audience’s attention, whilst also being clear, professional, malleable, and cost-effective. 

Outside of its logistical capabilities, here are some of the wider benefits of animation :


It can turn scary topics into something more approachable, enabling those who would otherwise avoid triggering content to engage with challenging topics. This is also useful when gearing your video towards a younger audience, especially for medical animated explainer videos. 

Child in hospital
Child in hospital


Animation tends to be more effective at presenting visual representations of health processes.

Live-action cannot confidently show, for instance, the effects of a drug or the spread of a disease through water droplets.

Engagement and Retention Booster

Audience engagement is essential when seeking to educate or advertise, people can feel an instant connection with animated content. This is likely due to our childhood relationship with cartoon characters – our brains still recognise animation as friendly, effortless entertainment.

Studies have shown that knowledge retention of films using animation over talking-head style video increases by a remarkable 92%.

Accessibility and Inclusion

Animation is an art form that has the potential to be incredibly accessible and inclusive if it seeks to be.

For children, live-action medical footage can be uninteresting or scary. Animation allows for the short engagement spans of children and appropriately conveys information.

Animation can overcome language barriers and low literacy levels by promoting a more inclusive ‘visual language’.

It is essential that all groups have access to medical content and are able to be made aware of options surrounding medical care and services.  

Medical explainer video accessibility
Medical explainer video accessibility

Styles of Animation

  • Traditional animation
  • 2D animation
  • 3D animation
  • Stop motion
  • Rotoscope
  • Typography
  • Claymation 
  • Whiteboard animation 

For more information on these and a wider range of animation styles read our article here.

Gather Inspiration

Let’s take a look at our pick of the top 10 most effective animated medical explainer videos and explore what makes them so great. 

1. Macmillan Cancer Support – How Blood Works

What makes it great: Simplified information

Medical information is inherently difficult for people outside of the medical field to get to grips with. If you are used to using medical jargon, it can be really difficult to get into the mind of someone who struggles with words like plasma, haemoglobin, and coagulation. 

Failing to understand health information can have serious emotional and physical consequences. If complex words and processes are not explained it means that worries cannot be addressed, in essence, you lose control over your health and wellbeing. 

The script in Macmillan’s video is highly effective, it simplifies and engages without sacrificing important information. Not only is complex medical jargon avoided but all language used is generally unfussy. 

2. Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

What makes it great: Target audience research

Video can be used to reassure patients facing difficult diagnoses. Directed at younger audiences, this carefully crafted video enlightens those with IDB that they can live happy lives. 

The frustrations and worries of the child target audience have been thoroughly researched and presented in a way that they would be receptive to. With people preferring to not talk about their gut issues, viewers, no matter the age are likely to better receive information in this conversationally heavy style rather than through direct address. 

3. Kurzgesagt – The Side Effects of Vaccines 

What makes it great: Target audience attraction

For those seeking to learn about vaccines, a video is much more appealing than trawling through a medical article or textbook. Despite this video’s longer timeframe, it remains engaging the entire way through, helped no doubt by the bright animation style. 

This extremely topical conversation is perfectly presented through an animated explainer-style production. Its honest and non-aggressive tone seeks to inform audiences of the facts rather than agitate a side of the argument, providing pervasive medical information for those who possess an anti-vax mindset or who are seeking to understand the genuine side effects of vaccines for their own health.  

Thumbnails are a great way to attract attention from your target audience. The thumbnail for this video is genius! Presenting vaccines as scary, whilst a bit clickbaity attracts those that believe vaccines are bad, encouraging them to watch the video and possibly change their minds.

4. Imaginary Friend Society – Feeling Sad

What makes it great: Character animation

The Paediatric Brain Tumour Foundation has produced a series of explainer videos to support kids fighting cancer. The video’s cartoonish design, with bright colours and an enchanting storyline, immediately captures the attention of children dealing with a difficult diagnosis. 

For videos aimed at younger audiences, it is important to cater to their childhood innocence. The medical world is a scary place for children, and it is important to recognise this when creating content for them. 

Character animation is a type of animation that uses movement, speech, and tone to bring a character to life. Animators can shape characters to take on a desired personality, experience specific emotions, or embark on a physical or mental journey.

This video’s use of Disney-like animated characters encourages children to understand that they are not alone in their suffering and it is okay to feel anxious or scared. It is easier for children to relate to imagined animated characters rather than real people, especially if they are adults.

5. NHS –  Trial Explainer GBS3

What makes it great: Encouraging information understanding and retention

GBS3 is a huge clinical trial of routine testing of pregnant women for group B Strep (GBS) in the UK. It is designed to establish whether testing all pregnant women is better than the UK’s current approach of only testing a select few. 

It is incredibly important that clinical trials are conducted in compliance with ethical standards. For this reason, effective communication between the medical body and patient is important. Animated video is a powerful educational tool to explain the intricacies of a clinical trial. 

This medical animated explainer video informs patients about:

  • The aims of the trial
  • Different procedures involved 
  • Potential side effects
  • Team involved 
  • Consent 

For the majority of patients, watching a video like this is much more informative than having a brief conversation with a doctor or reading a leaflet. Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text. Communicating with patients in this way will make the overall patient experience much better, especially because they can later return to the video if they can’t remember the specifics. 

6. Healthsketch – What is Cancer?

What makes it great: Animation style 

Choosing an animation style can be a tiresome process, it’s often really difficult to know which is best for your video. Whiteboard animation, for instance, works well in this video by Healthsketch but it would not be so useful if you are intending to reach a younger audience or are looking to provoke an emotional response. 

Whiteboard explainer videos simulate an interaction that most people relate to. By taking a familiar premise, reminding people of their school education, and enhancing it with an interesting script, it is possible to create something that is compelling and useful. 

7. Pfizer – Understanding Chronic Pain 

What makes it great: Sensible use of animation

Intangible feelings like pain can be really difficult to explain to your doctor. Animation provides the perfect medium for conveying the notion of pain. This video by Pfizer supplies the viewer with analogies and familiar experiences to help them understand what type of pain they are experiencing so they can seek help. 

Live-action video would not be as effective at explaining pain, as in most cases it is limited to the realms of reality and the feeling of pain is almost impossible to express visually.

8. NHS – How to Access Your GP Practice

What makes it great: Accessible animation

NHS productions must be highly accessible. Over 2 million people in the UK live with visual impairments and may find it hard to understand written information or unclear videos.

Animation can be made accessible to those with sight loss through high colour contrasts and distinctive signposting. In this video, the white background forms a stark contrast with the bright animated visuals culminating in an effective and accessible healthcare explainer.   

9. I Had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression 

What makes it great: Storytelling

Some of the best medical animated explainer videos tell convincing stories rather than simply discussing facts and statistics. Starting as a book written and illustrated by Matthew Johnson, I Had a Black Dog, His Name Was Depression was transformed into an animated video by the World Health Organisation to further promote the touching story. 

Depression is a lonely and debilitating condition. Often the hardest step towards recovery is realising that you are suffering and allowing yourself to seek treatment. Those with depression can find it hard to talk to their peers about their struggles and are unsure where to turn for help. 

This story is presented by a character suffering from depression, personified as a black dog. It provides a simple and concise view of what it is like to have depression, allowing audiences to relate it to their own struggle, or empathise with others. 

Explainer videos that come across as prescriptive and patronising can do more harm than good, deterring people from the information presented. Tonally, this video is spot on. 

10. Infoscan for Patients 

What makes it great: High production value

A shoddily produced animated medical explainer can confuse audiences, especially if your subject is already complex. Scripts should be sharp, animation should be fluid and audio should be clear. Videos that fail to perform can deliver a fatal blow to your chances of sharing an effective and successful medical explainer. 

Infoscan’s medical animated explainer video exemplifies a well-produced product that is effective at what it sets out to do. It gets straight to the point of a very worrying issue without bogging the video down with stats and medical jargon as that may cause people to turn off a video that may save their life. 

Sleep disorders are often brushed off but this video will cause people to think twice before doing so. It makes the process of using Infoscan look really simple so people will be more inclined to try it.

Now it’s your turn!

Garnered enough inspiration from our top 10 medical animated explainer videos and ready to get started on your own? Not sure where to start? 

Why not contact us at Kartoffel Films? Our award-winning team will take your animation through the stages of conceptualisation, planning, production and delivery, you don’t have to worry about a thing! 

We know a heck of a lot about making video that works. Check out our Learning Centre to find out more. 

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