Support for fast comprehension of ICU data: visualization using metaphor graphics.

Department of Medical Cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence, University of Vienna, Austria.
Methods of Information in Medicine (Impact Factor: 1.08). 02/2001; 40(5):421-4.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The time-oriented analysis of electronic patient records on (neonatal) intensive care units is a tedious and time-consuming task. Graphic data visualization should make it easier for physicians to assess the overall situation of a patient and to recognize essential changes over time.
Metaphor graphics are used to sketch the most relevant parameters for characterizing a patient's situation. By repetition of the graphic object in 24 frames the situation of the ICU patient is presented in one display, usually summarizing the last 24 h.
VIE-VISU is a data visualization system which uses multiples to present the change in the patient's status over time in graphic form. Each multiple is a highly structured metaphor graphic object. Each object visualizes important ICU parameters from circulation, ventilation, and fluid balance.
The design using multiples promotes a focus on stability and change. A stable patient is recognizable at first sight, continuous improvement or worsening condition are easy to analyze, drastic changes in the patient's situation get the viewers attention immediately.

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