Rachel Wallenbeck, MLIS
Electronic Resources Librarian
Creighton University Libraries
Complete Anatomy, created by 3D4Medical, now part of Elsevier, is a 3D anatomy application designed for both faculty and students in health science programs. It provides access to 3D anatomical models with interactive structures along with lectures, quizzes, and videos. Features built into the platform are designed to appeal to students of all learning types as well as assist faculty in curating customized content for their courses.
Complete Anatomy is available to users as an application only from the Apple App Store for Macs, iPads, or iPhones; the Google Play store for Android phones or tablets; and the Microsoft store for Windows 10 devices. The main components of Complete Anatomy — the atlas of anatomical structures, the video library, and the interactive 3D models — are accessible by all users. This comprehensive resource can be used by students and faculty in a variety of programs, including (but not limited to) dentistry, physical therapy, nursing, and medical sciences.
A December 2021 update to Complete Anatomy included a fully-detailed female model and a function that allows users to switch between male and female models to compare anatomical structures. Users also can turn the different body systems on and off to view them as individual layers (or view multiple layers at one time). When selecting a particular part of the anatomy, several options to learn more about it appear. Some examples include cross-section images, short clips of the range of motion of the body part, and detailed information from scholarly resources, such as the most recent edition of Gray’s Anatomy. Tools for annotation, drawing, cutting, and simulating growths and pain while interacting with the model are included. From a tablet or a smartphone, users can view the model using augmented reality (AR), as if interacting with a model in a classroom or lab. Radiological images are available for side-by-side comparison views with the anatomical model for those using devices with a larger screen.
Other features helpful for students who are studying a particular part of the body or procedure are the video library, courses, and quizzes. Many of the videos were created by 3D4Medical, but some have been created by faculty from other institutions who have specialized in the content of their videos. The courses are created by faculty and made available to all institutions, and often contain multiple lectures on a larger topic. Quizzes built by 3D4Medical are helpful for students wanting to test their knowledge and understanding of various parts or functions of the body.
In addition to these features, faculty will have access to the Curriculum Manager, a tool that allows them to invite their students to groups and assign them content for review or completion. Faculty can create custom content within Complete Anatomy, including quizzes, lectures, and screens (focused labeled anatomical models over which they can record their comments). Then, they can share the content with their class by assigning it to a group, embedding it in a PowerPoint, and sharing live in person or in a virtual classroom setting. Faculty also can use the Curriculum Manager dashboard to view students’ progress and quiz results for the assigned content.
Complete Anatomy has a basic keyword search function that allows users to find content quickly. In addition, the content page has filter and sort functions for all of the content in the application. Content can be filtered based on criteria such as content type, user group, or system of the body.
Improvements to Consider
One possible improvement to this resource could be migrating to — or providing users with an option of accessing it on — a cloud-based web platform. Currently, users are limited to accessing the application on Apple, Windows, and Android devices. As a web resource, it could be accessed from any device, although there is the possibility of losing some functionality, such as the AR feature.
A challenge for some users may be that some features, such as the radiological images, are not available on smaller devices. This is likely because the side-by-side comparison with the model requires a larger screen to be seen properly. If the mobile view were redesigned to include these features in a creative way, they could be beneficial for users as a quick reference on a mobile device or for users without a computer.
Complete Anatomy is a standalone product with an annual subscription. There are three types of subscriptions: student, professional, or institutional. Libraries with an institutional subscription have access to the Curriculum Manager and other features for faculty. Student and professional licenses are for individuals and have more limited features as compared to institutional subscriptions.
An institutional subscription is based on an estimated number of users for the platform. When a library purchases an institutional subscription, 3D4Medical will provide activation codes to share with students and faculty, respectively. Users must first create an account within the application and enter the activation code in their account settings upon their first login. Once the activation code is entered, they have full access to the resource.
Complete Anatomy is the ideal anatomy resource for any institution with a health science degree of any specialty because of the interactivity, curriculum integration tools, and comprehensive models and information that come with an institutional subscription. Students and faculty from any health science program can benefit from Complete Anatomy. It is a great tool for academic libraries to acquire.