A Physician's Perspective on the Incorporation of Pictograms as a Supplement to Medical Instructions in Chile: A Pilot Study

R. Figueroa, C. Taramasco, C. Flores, L. Ortiz, C. Vásquez-Venegas, P. Salas, Q. Zeng-Treilter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction and objectives: Current models of health care are progressively migrating to more participatory models, where for treatment to achieve results that last over time, there must be effective communication between the patient, his or her caregivers, and health professionals. Although the use of pictograms in the context of medical instructions has been widely studied, in our country, there are no studies about their usefulness, or which set of symbols should be used by the systems. This work aims to present the first step towards the development of platforms that automatically suggest pictograms to supplement medical instructions for primary care settings in Chile. Materials and methods: In this pilot study, we collected and analyzed the physicians' opinions on the selection of medical instructions that later will automatically be supplemented by the software that is under construction. We designed an expert validation survey using a set of 66 medical instructions with pictograms. This survey provided three rating options for each medical instruction: Not necessary (supplementing the instruction with a pictogram does not carry any value), Useful (supplementing the instruction with a pictogram may help patients to understand and remember the instruction), and Essential (supplementing the instruction with a pictogram is essential). Seventy-one physicians responded to the survey. Results: 22 out of 66 medical instructions were considered “essential” by >=51% of the experts, and 12 of the 66 were considered to be “useful but not essential” by >=51% of the experts. Conclusion: Results of our survey validate the potential use of pictograms as a complement to better comprehension of medical instructions in our country.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022


  • Expert judgment
  • Medical instructions
  • Patient understanding
  • Pictogram
  • Survey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biomedical Engineering


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