hGraph: An Open System for Visualizing Personal Health Metrics

Visualization & Interface, Murray Hill (NY Hilton)
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There’s no question that, in the United States, the inefficient delivery of healthcare rates chief among our societal problems of this young century. In particular, the design of healthcare experience is ripe for improvement. At the moment, our healthcare system is dominated by an almost entirely reactive model, aimed at care of the sick, not a preventative, proactive one built around improving the wellness of the individual. While this reactive approach to healthcare is changing, a great opportunity exists to enable healthcare professionals to better access and analyze patients’ records and similarly to allow people to own and interact with their healthcare data.

As we slowly pivot toward a proactive perspective 
on healthcare, there’s a growing need for individual 
measurement and understanding of health related 
metrics, as well as standard, easily comprehensible graphical depictions of data for health care practitioners and patients alike.

People need to be able to actively use and benefit from the healthcare data collected about them, while avoiding information overload. Here, the healthcare experience is ripe for improvement. Like most information heavy fields, it is fraught with the problems caused by too much data with no easy way to sort it all. Additionally, as the transformation from paper to electronic records takes place, we must provide software tools to health care providers that enable the decision grade analysis.

In order to gain insight into the complex, multi-dimensional data sets that represent health metrics healthcare data requires visual representations that are engaging, optimized for use by both the health care provider and the patient, and support high level pattern recognition and analysis as well as the ability to see deeper details.

hGraph is a open source information visualization particularly well-suited for viewing complex data, which provides a complete overview of an individual’s health. This single picture method can have a profound effect on a person’s understanding of their total well being, because it compiles multiple metrics into a unified graph that can be viewed at a glance.

Photo of Juhan Sonin

Juhan Sonin

Involution Studios

Juhan Sonin, Creative Director of Involution Studios, is an emeritus of some of the finest software organizations in the world: Apple, the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He has been a creative director for almost two decades with his work being featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, BBC International, Billboard Magazine and National Public Radio (NPR). His designs have enjoyed installations throughout Europe and the United States.

Juhan is a recognized expert in design for health, process management, and security, providing consultation to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Defense.

Juhan was a featured speaker on the topic of software design at the TTI Vanguard Design as Strategy Conference in 2011, joining other thought leaders such as Frank Gehry, Hartmut Esslinger and Alan Kay. In 2012, Juhan will be speaking at NextGen: Health and HIMSS 2012 on the tenets of mobile health software design. Juhan’s most recent paper, published in May, 2011 in the Journal of Participatory Medicine, was called “Hacking Health: Designing for and Understanding My Health”, and details the experience of designing software for medical applications and the future of non-invasive diagnostics.


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