University of Kentucky doctor creates a new app to help patients see their body

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT)- Imagine being told you have a life threatening condition and that you will need surgery.

For many of us the thought of undergoing a procedure that we don't understand would be frightening, but now a University of Kentucky doctor is trying to change that for people.

Lexington doctor Michael Winkler is using his love of art and background in science to help patients better understand their diagnosis by way of a simple app.

It’s not your normal doctor’s office, surrounded by art and sculpture is a place Dr. Winkler feels right at home.

“My own background is in fine art and sculpture, my undergraduate degree is in sculpture,” said Dr. Michael Winkler.

When he isn't talking art, Dr. Winkler primarily specializes in radiology at UK HealthCare’s Gill Heart and Vascular Institute.

“Some people have a misconception that radiologist don’t see patients, but many of our procedures are complicated and I need to know a patient’s medical history and examining them is so I know particularly how to image them,” said Dr. Winkler.

Mixed in among the creativity and design at the UK School of Art and Visual Studies Dr. Winkler realized there was a way he could better serve his patients and it allowed him to use art and medicine.

“Humans have an amazing ability to understand data in a visual way,” Dr. Winkler.

Many times understanding what is wrong in the body is complicated, but now a clever tool developed by Dr. Winkler can help patients and their families understand what is happening by actually showing them.

He created an app Mixing Cup that takes a large 3D image, compresses the file so it can be sent to right to a patient’s smart phone or email.

“It’s not an app for patient’s to download, it’s an app so that imagers like myself can translate very large complex files to small files that can be texted to a patient or emailed to a patient,” said Dr. Winkler.

Instead of looking at a flat image, doctors can now walk patients through their own body to show them exactly what is wrong.

Dr. Winkler can even go a step further for patients with 3D printing.

From an image to an actual model of your heart, it’s another creative and calming way to help patients with the stress of processing their diagnosis.

"Over the course of my career I have found that people are incredibly courageous, that its uncertainty that is really what distresses people, the fear of the unknown is much greater than the fear of a problem that you can face for which you have a plan," said Dr. Winkler.

Leonardo da Vinci may have been one of the first to combine art and medicine in this drawing, but thousands of years later it continues here at UK with Dr. Michael Winkler and his futuristic approach to creating a better bed side manner.

"One of the reasons I like being here in the School of Art and Visual Studies is that I may have an opportunity to convince some these incredible young people who are artists to think about medicine," said Dr. Winkler.

Mixing Cup is the app designed by Dr. Winkler.

Dr. Winkler chose to publish it as an open access app so that patients and doctors everywhere could take advantage of the service quickly and easily.

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