Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Visualizing Your Medical Data

Thanks to Gordon Massey at Children's Hospital Boston for referring me to this blog post by Kenneth S. Spriggs on, and to the image presented there, which I reproduce here. In the post, Sprigg talks about how he made sense of his medical data by creating a graphic electronic health record, the DIYEHR.

His visual presentation of his medicine regime brought out associations and questions that he had never thought about: 

There’s dramatically more information there than meets the eye. Patterns emerge. I’ll give a few examples.

You can see I have a history of inflammatory diseases — first was eczema, then asthma, and now Crohn’s disease. When my asthma was developing my skin was clearing up and when my Crohn’s was developing my asthma was clearing up. You can clearly see this transition just by reading from left to right. Perhaps they’re related?

There’s another useful discovery — it’s the inclusion of the Vitamin B-12 injections. As soon as B-12 was prescribed I no longer needed depression medication. . . .

The last observation I’ll make is that the combination of Remicade and azathioprine lost its efficacy and it landed me in more trouble than just before I was diagnosed — which I assure you was an awful lot of trouble. And then there’s a big drop in the number of drugs I’ve had to take post surgery. In retrospect I’d have chosen to avoid the drugs and opt for surgery back in 2001.

A fascinating example of patient empowerment.  Who is going to design the app for this, that with your authorization could automatically download your medication history from your health care providers and create a neat chart out of it?

1 comment:

e-Patient Dave said...

I love the attention this is getting - he deserves it! Even picked it up.

This just HINTS at two issues pointed to by Dr. Larry Weed's "problem-knowledge couplers" concept:

1) the cognitive overload of the human mind trying to grasp all the relevant facts in a case, and

2) the utter inadequacy of today's visit-centered medical records to support a coordinated, comprehensive picture of the patient.

See the post on Weed this week.