Visual Exploration of Time-Oriented Patient Data for Chronic Diseases: Design Study and Evaluation

  • Alexander Rind
  • Wolfgang Aigner
  • Silvia Miksch
  • Sylvia Wiltner
  • Margit Pohl
  • Thomas Turic
  • Felix Drexler
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7058)


Medical care, particularly for chronic diseases, accumulates a huge amount of patient data over extensive time periods that needs to be accessed and analyzed accordingly. Information Visualization methods hold great promises in turning data deluge into improved quality of medical care. Yet, patient data management systems mostly provide documents, form-based displays, or static visualizations. We present a design study of an interactive visualization system, called VisuExplore, to support long-term care and medical analysis of patients with chronic diseases. VisuExplore offers interaction techniques for effective exploration of time-oriented data and employs simple, but intuitive visualization techniques. It was developed in close cooperation with physicians. We conducted two user studies with nine physicians and 16 students, which indicate that our design is useful and appropriate for particular tasks.


Information Visualization time-oriented data medical information systems visual exploration interaction techniques user study 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Adams, A., Cox, A.L.: Questionnaires, in-depth interviews and focus groups. In: Cairns, P., Cox, A.L. (eds.) Research Methods for Human-Computer Interaction, pp. 17–34. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Aigner, W., Miksch, S., Müller, W., Schumann, H., Tominski, C.: Visualizing time-oriented data—a systematic view. Computers & Graphics 31(3), 401–409 (2007)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Ardito, C., Buono, P., Costabile, M.F., Lanzilotti, R.: Two different interfaces to visualize patient histories on a PDA. In: Proc. 8th Conf. Human-Computer Interaction with Mobile Devices and Services, pp. 37–40. ACM (2006)Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bade, R., Schlechtweg, S., Miksch, S.: Connecting time-oriented data and information to a coherent interactive visualization. In: Proc. ACM SIGCHI Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), pp. 105–112 (2004)Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Brodbeck, D., Gasser, R., Degen, M., Reichlin, S., Luthiger, J.: Enabling large-scale telemedical disease management through interactive visualization. In: Connecting Medical Informatics and Bio-Informatics, Proc. Int. Congress Eur. Fed. Med. Inform. (MIE), pp. 1172–1177 (2005)Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Card, S.K., Mackinlay, J.D., Shneiderman, B. (eds.): Readings in Information Visualization: Using Vision to Think. Morgan Kaufmann, San Francisco (1999)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Catarci, T., Santucci, G., Silva, S.F.: An interactive visual exploration of medical data for evaluating health centres. Journal of Research and Practice in Information Technology 35(2), 99–119 (2003)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Cousins, S.B., Kahn, M.G.: The visual display of temporal information. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine 3(6), 341–357 (1991)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Faiola, A., Newlon, C.: Advancing Critical Care in the ICU: A Human-Centered Biomedical Data Visualization Systems. In: Robertson, M.M. (ed.) EHAWC 2011 and HCII 2011. LNCS, vol. 6779, pp. 119–128. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Fekete, J.D., van Wijk, J., Stasko, J.T., North, C.: The Value of Information Visualization. In: Kerren, A., Stasko, J.T., Fekete, J.-D., North, C. (eds.) Information Visualization. LNCS, vol. 4950, pp. 1–18. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Gschwandtner, T., Aigner, W., Kaiser, K., Miksch, S., Seyfang, A.: CareCruiser: exploring and visualizing plans, events, and effects interactively. In: Proc. IEEE Pacific Visualization Symp. (PacificVis), pp. 43–50 (2011)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Heer, J., Card, S.K., Landay, J.A.: prefuse: A toolkit for interactive information visualization. In: Proc. ACM SIGCHI Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), pp. 421–430 (2005)Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Heer, J., Vigas, F.B., Wattenberg, M.: Voyagers and voyeurs: Supporting asynchronous collaborative visualization. Communications of the ACM 52(1), 87–97 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Hinum, K., Miksch, S., Aigner, W., Ohmann, S., Popow, C., Pohl, M., Rester, M.: Gravi++: Interactive information visualization to explore highly structured temporal data. Journal of Universal Computer Science 11(11), 1792–1805 (2005)Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Horn, W., Popow, C., Unterasinger, L.: Support for fast comprehension of ICU data: Visualization using metaphor graphics. Methods of Information in Medicine 40(5), 421–424 (2001)Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Klimov, D., Shahar, Y., Taieb-Maimon, M.: Intelligent visualization and exploration of time-oriented data of multiple patients. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine 49(1), 11–31 (2010)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Lam, H.: A framework of interaction costs in information visualization. IEEE Trans. Visualization and Computer Graphics 14(6), 1149–1156 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Lammarsch, T., Aigner, W., Bertone, A., Miksch, S., Rind, A.: Towards a concept how the structure of time can support the visual analytics process. In: Miksch, S., Santucci, G. (eds.) Proc. Int. Workshop Visual Analytics (EuroVA 2011) in conjunction with EuroVis 2011, Eurographics, Goslar, Germany, pp. 9–12 (2011)Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Martins, S.B., Shahar, Y., Goren-Bar, D., Galperin, M., Kaizer, H., Basso, L.V., McNaughton, D., Goldstein, M.K.: Evaluation of an architecture for intelligent query and exploration of time-oriented clinical data. Artificial Intelligence in Medicine 43(1), 17–34 (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Munzner, T.: Process and Pitfalls in Writing Information Visualization Research Papers. In: Kerren, A., Stasko, J.T., Fekete, J.-D., North, C. (eds.) Information Visualization. LNCS, vol. 4950, pp. 134–153. Springer, Heidelberg (2008)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Pike, W.A., Stasko, J., Chang, R., O’Connell, T.A.: The science of interaction. Information Visualization 8(4), 263–274 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Plaisant, C., Mushlin, R., Snyder, A., Li, J., Heller, D., Shneiderman, B.: LifeLines: using visualization to enhance navigation and analysis of patient records. In: Proc. AMIA Symp., pp. 76–80 (1998)Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Pohl, M., Wiltner, S., Rind, A., Aigner, W., Miksch, S., Turic, T., Drexler, F.: Patient Development at a Glance: An Evaluation of a Medical Data Visualization. In: Campos, P., Graham, N., Jorge, J., Nunes, N., Palanque, P., Winckler, M. (eds.) INTERACT 2011, Part IV. LNCS, vol. 6949, pp. 292–299. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Potamias, G.: State of the art on systems for data analysis, information retrieval and decision support. Deliverable D13, INFOBIOMED project (2006), (access July 14, 2010)
  25. 25.
    Powsner, S.M., Tufte, E.R.: Graphical summary of patient status. Lancet 344(8919), 386–389 (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Reijner, H.: The development of the horizon graph. In: Bartram, L., Stone, M., Gromala, D. (eds.) Proc. Vis 2008 Workshop From Theory to Practice: Design, Vision and Visualization (2008)Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Rind, A., Aigner, W., Miksch, S., Wiltner, S., Pohl, M., Drexler, F., Neubauer, B., Suchy, N.: Visually Exploring Multivariate Trends in Patient Cohorts Using Animated Scatter Plots. In: Robertson, M.M. (ed.) EHAWC 2011 and HCII 2011. LNCS, vol. 6779, pp. 139–148. Springer, Heidelberg (2011)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Rind, A., Miksch, S., Aigner, W., Turic, T., Pohl, M.: VisuExplore: gaining new medical insights from visual exploration. In: Hayes, G.R., Tan, D.S. (eds.) Proc. Int. Workshop on Interactive Systems in Healthcare (WISH@CHI2010), pp. 149–152. SIGCHI (2010)Google Scholar
  29. 29.
    Sharp, H., Rogers, Y., Preece, J.: Interaction Design: Beyond Human-Computer Interaction, 2nd edn. Wiley & Sons, Chichester (2007)Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Shrinivasan, Y.B., van Wijk, J.J.: Supporting the analytical reasoning process in information visualization. In: Proc. ACM SIGCHI Conf. Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), pp. 1237–1246 (2008)Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Spence, R.: Information Visualization: Design for Interaction., 2nd edn. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River (2007)Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Sundvall, E., Nystrom, M., Forss, M., Chen, R., Petersson, H., Ahlfeldt, H.: Graphical overview and navigation of electronic health records in a prototyping environment using google earth and openEHR archetypes. In: Kuhn, K.A., Warren, J.R., Leong, T. (eds.) Proc. 12th World Congr. Health (Medical) Informatics (Medinfo 2007), pp. 1043–1047. IOS, Amsterdam (2007)Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Tufte, E.R.: The Visual Display of Quantitative Information. Graphics Press, Cheshire, CT (1983)Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Wang, T.D., Plaisant, C., Shneiderman, B., Spring, N., Roseman, D., Marchand, G., Mukherjee, V., Smith, M.: Temporal summaries: Supporting temporal categorical searching, aggregation and comparison. IEEE Trans. Visualization and Computer Graphics 15(6), 1049–1056 (2009)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Wongsuphasawat, K., Shneiderman, B.: Finding comparable temporal categorical records: A similarity measure with an interactive visualization. In: Proc. IEEE Symp. Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST), pp. 27–34 (2009)Google Scholar
  36. 36.
    Zhang, Z., Mittal, A., Garg, S., Dimitriyadi, A.E., Ramakrishnan, I.V., Zhao, R., Viccellio, A., Mueller, K.: A visual analytics framework for emergency room clinical encounters. In: IEEE Workshop on Visual Analytics in Health Care (2010), (access May 5, 2011)

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexander Rind
    • 1
    • 3
  • Wolfgang Aigner
    • 1
    • 3
  • Silvia Miksch
    • 1
    • 3
  • Sylvia Wiltner
    • 2
  • Margit Pohl
    • 2
  • Thomas Turic
    • 3
  • Felix Drexler
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Software Technology & Interactive SystemsVienna University of TechnologyAustria
  2. 2.Research Group Human Computer InteractionVienna University of TechnologyAustria
  3. 3.Department of Information and Knowledge EngineeringDanube University KremsAustria
  4. 4.Landesklinikum KremsAustria

Personalised recommendations