Chapter 12 in Big Data and Health Analytics, Katherine Marconi and Harold Lehman (Eds), CRC Press - Taylor and Francis (2014), 243-262.
This chapter focuses on the central role of information visualization in health analytics. From the
early x-rays to 3D volume visualizations rapid progress has been made, but the most exciting
growth is now in the area of information visualization which offer interactive environments and
analytic processes that help support exploration of EHR data, monitoring, or insight discovery.
For example, a health organization might want to investigate patterns of drug prescriptions in
patients with asthma, and compare prescribing practices with current guidelines. Temporal
patterns are critical to this analysis, and interactive visualizations are beginning to support
powerful temporal queries, present rich result summaries, and offer fluid interactions to identify
the clinically relevant patterns hidden in the data. Visualization should soon help clinicians
identify cohorts of patients who match selection criteria for clinical trials, or need to be brought
back to the office. Visualization can also reveal data quality problems, which are common when
repurposing clinical data for secondary analysis. After a quick summary of the state-of-the-art of
information visualization systems for exploring and querying HER data, we describe in detail
one recent system (EventFlow) developed by the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the
University of Maryland, and illustrate its use with an asthma prescription study example.