1. Perry, William MA, RN

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The Internet has brought the spirit of global communication and collaboration to nurses and other healthcare professionals in ways never before thought possible. These resources are offered to expand your opportunities for discussion, reference, education, and research.


I was recently asked about photograph resources for patient education. While many text-based resources are available, high-quality images can be difficult to find. Coincidentally I received an e-mail from the HEAL (Health Education Assets Library) mailing list with the announcement that their collection had grown to over 3200 items. Located at, HEAL is a federally funded project to provide free access to multimedia resources for health education.


Their vision and mission as described on the Web site:


The HEAL vision is to create the leading digital library relied upon by a worldwide community of teachers and learners to improve the effectiveness of health sciences education. HEAL's mission is to provide free digital materials of the highest quality that meet the needs of today's health sciences educators and learners. HEAL promotes the preservation and exchange of useful educational assets while respecting ownership and privacy.


Recent additions include Flash instructional animations from Medline Plus ( and an incredible anti-smoking education program for the University of Miami called "They're Rich, You're Dead" ( The HEAL site requires registration, but it's free.


The National Cancer Institute has a large collection of royalty free images at ( From the Web site: "This database includes general biomedical and science-related images, cancer-specific scientific and patient care-related images, and portraits of directors and staff of the NCI."


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention houses the Public Health Image Library ( From the Web site:


Much of the information critical to the communication of public health messages is pictorial rather than text-based. Created by a Working Group at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), PHIL(TM) offers an organized, universal electronic gateway to CDC's pictures. We welcome public health professionals, the media, laboratory scientists, educators, and the worldwide public to use this material for reference, teaching, presentation, and public health messages. The content is organized into hierarchical categories of people, places, and science, and is presented as single images, image sets, and multimedia files.


Medscape has a collection of anatomical line drawings that may be downloaded and used for patient education. Divided by body systems, they are available either with or without labels. The cardiovascular images are located at with links to the other body systems. Registration is required but is free.


The McGoogan Library of Medicine at the University of Nebraska maintains an extensive list of image resources at


The Hardin Meta Directory has a large collection of links to medical pictures at As with the McGoogan library, these are lists of sites that contain images. Most are free to use for educational purposes but each Web site may have specific requirements.


Viewing and using these multimedia resources may require a number of different players. Here are a few sites with multimedia viewers:


Flash and Shockwave movies:


Quicktime movies: (both free and commercial versions)


Real Media: (both free and commercial versions)


Windows Media Files:


Still images and photographs can be manipulated with a large number of commercial editing programs or by using free resources such as PhotoPlus 5.5 located at or GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP) at (


There are many resources available to help amplify text-based materials for student, staff, and patient education. Some are in the public domain, and some are free for educational use only. The resources listed here have been consistently reliable in providing high-quality images.