Background and aim: To investigate the use of animation tools to aid visualisation of problems for discussion within focus groups, in the context of healthcare workers discussing electronic health records (EHRs), Method: Ten healthcare staff focus groups, held in a range of organisational contexts. Each focus group was in four stages: baseline discussion, animator presentation, post-animator discussion and questionnaire. Audio recordings of the focus groups were transcribed and coded and the emergent analytic themes analysed for issues relating to EHR design and implementation. The data allowed a comparison of baseline and post-animator discussion. Results: The animator facilitated discussion about EHR issues and these were thematically coded as: Workload; Sharing Information; Access to Information; Record Content; Confidentiality; Patient Consent, and Implementation. Conclusion: We illustrate that use of the animator in focus groups is one means to raise understanding about a proposed EHR development. The animator provided a visual 'probe' to support a more pro-active and discursive localised approach to end-user concerns, which could be part of an effective stake-holder engagement and communication strategy crucial in any EHR or health informatics implementation programme. The results of the focus groups were to raise salient issues and concerns, many of which anticipated those that have emerged in the current NHS Connecting for Health Care Records programme in England. Potentially, animator-type technologies may facilitate the user ownership which other forms of dissemination appear to be failing to achieve.