Annie Lipski, MLIS
Health Sciences Librarian
Raynor Memorial Libraries
This is an update of a review published in 2019. You can find the original review here.
Anatomy.tv by Primal Pictures is an interactive virtual anatomy product created using the National Library of Medicine’s (NLM) Visible Human Project. The target audience includes students and teachers of anatomy and health sciences. Anatomy.tv contains a vast amount of thorough information about the complexities of the human body that can be challenging to navigate without first reading its detailed user manuals. One way to mitigate potential information overload is to use the personal profile feature. This enables users to curate their own collection of preferred content.
Brief descriptions of all available modules are located under the Welcome tab on the home page. In addition to the existing content covered in 2019, Anatomy.tv has added several new modules.
“Learning Outcomes” is well-designed and easy to navigate. It contains 156 learning outcomes for new medical graduates as defined by the Anatomical Society. Explanatory videos present anatomical models and are narrated by expert anatomists. Transcripts are available for download and chapter markers enable users to easily locate content. Each video begins with a clearly stated learning outcome, usually to define/describe various anatomical concepts or structures. Videos are designed to scaffold learning, referring users to various other numbered learning outcomes for further information. Most videos include “additional content” sections, including interactive 3D models that users can examine more closely at their own pace.
“Diseases and Conditions” offers a clinical perspective of 88 common diseases and conditions. The navigation is less intuitive than “Learning Outcomes,” but it includes a detailed PDF user guide. It contains a search feature, but only seems to include module titles. Many of the sections contain detailed patient education materials (on causes, symptoms, and treatment) written in plain language. These resources will be useful for clinicians or for teaching students how to better communicate with their patients.
“Real-Time Functional Anatomy” contains updated versions of the Functional Anatomy module. Some notable changes include animations of movement that play either backwards or forwards on a continuous loop. This feature enables users to better adjust the anatomical model, rotating it to any angle rather than using arrows to view various fixed positions of the movement. This module will be especially useful to those studying kinesiology.
“Primal VR” provides a new way to interact with the content, enabling users to fully walk around and examine the model. It can also be used to simulate the cadaver lab. A compatible virtual reality headset is required for use, which may be cost-prohibitive. I did not review this module as I did not have the necessary equipment.
The full version of Anatomy.tv is a resource-intensive program generally best used on computers. However, Primal’s 3D Real-Time (Whole Body) and 3D Human Anatomy Quiz modules have mobile apps available for iOS and Android. These modules are suited to the smaller screen of a mobile device, as they are typically used to focus on a specific section of the body. These apps will be useful references for students or faculty on clinical rotations.
Perpetual content with the option to pay for yearly updates is still available. For full disclosure, this is the model Marquette University uses. Anatomy.tv also offers individual and institutional subscriptions.
Overall, the new features further enhance this already solid, content-rich product. Anatomy.tv remains a valuable resource for health science libraries.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this review indicated that a tethered headset is required for Primal VR, the headset for which may be untethered. Source: https://primalpictures.com/support/faqs/#vr