Sunday, August 21, 2011

Viz: GE Health InfoScape

Health InfoScape is a tool from GE which provides the user with relationships between different health ailments. It is called as the disease network. This disease network represents the most common ailments found in the people in America today. The data represented in this visualization are based on about 7.2 million electronic anonymized patient records which are owned by GE.

The Infoscape can be viewed in two forms. One is the traditional graph-network format in which each node(ailment) is connected to another ailment if they are related to each other. The second is the circle format in which all the ailments are arranged in a circle and relationships are shown with the help of connections between the circle elements. The disease network can be dynamically organised by gender and is different for males and females. It uses a term called 'Prevalence' for each ailment which is the percentage value of how common that ailment occurs in males / females. More the prevalence value, more bigger is the node size. One click on any node reveals the category, prevalence level and most commonly co-related ailments. The visualization allows the user to specifically search for an ailment or select any category from the list of categories given. Based on the prevalence level, any user can easily find out what exactly might the ailment mean or be related to which ailment or which symptom might further show up.

As an user, this disease network is a handy tool to figure out the relations between different symptoms and possibly also come up with a home diagnosis for immediate medication. The interactive depcition of relations between symptoms/ailments and their prevalance level can help the user to further narrow down the diagnosis. Another point to consider is that as it is derived from historical data for millions of patients, the accuracy of the data; even though not 100%; is high. Having said that, this visualization is helpful for taking care of ourselves in every way but it is always safe to visit a doctor.

Health InfoScape is available online and for download here.
Some other cool visualization worth trying out are LivePlasma and British History Timeline.