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Support for Fast Comprehension of ICU Data: Visualization using Metaphor Graphics

Journal: Methods Archive
ISSN: 0026-1270
Issue: 2001 (Vol. 40): Issue 5 2001
Pages: 421-424

Support for Fast Comprehension of ICU Data: Visualization using Metaphor Graphics

W. Horn(1), C. Popow(2), L. Unterasinger(2)

(1)Department of Medical Cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence, University of Vienna, and Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence, Vienna (2)NICU, Division of Neonatology, Department of Pediatrics, University of Vienna, Austria


Intensive Care, Computer Graphics, Data Display


Objectives: 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. Methods: 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. Results: 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. Conclusion: 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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