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Health Informatics J. 2013 Sep;19(3):198-217. doi: 10.1177/1460458212465213.

Making sense of personal health information: challenges for information visualization.

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  • 1UCL Interaction Centre, London, UK. s.faisal@cs.ucl.ac.uk


This article presents a systematic review of the literature on information visualization for making sense of personal health information. Based on this review, five application themes were identified: treatment planning, examination of patients' medical records, representation of pedigrees and family history, communication and shared decision making, and life management and health monitoring. While there are recognized design challenges associated with each of these themes, such as how best to represent data visually and integrate qualitative and quantitative information, other challenges and opportunities have received little attention to date. In this article, we highlight, in particular, the opportunities for supporting people in better understanding their own illnesses and making sense of their health conditions in order to manage them more effectively.


Information visualization; personal health care; sensemaking

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