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Visualization for more effective care

Sometimes, the data in patient records is presented in a graph, or a district nurse remotely monitors patients being cared for in the home. Both are examples of how health data can be visualized so that healthcare professionals can get a better overview of a patient’s situation. Visualization of data in this way facilitates correct decision-making and for this, RISE can help.

The concept of health data has grown in sync with the digital transition of society. In the past, healthcare professionals relied solely on patient records, laboratory results and the real-time data on patients being monitored in, for example, intensive care. But now, the concept of health data has grown to even include such things as consumer electronics like digital pulse monitors and various types of health apps.

However, in order for health data to be easy-to-grasp, it needs to be presented in a smart way.

– “Patient records are typically several pages long, containing notes from many different appointments with doctors and nurses. As such, it can take quite a lot of time to read through it all. An experienced doctor who knows what they are looking for can quickly and easily scan through it all, but might miss something that signals a more rare or serious condition,” says Peter Ljungstrand, Research & Business Developer at RISE.

The solution to this could be a function that transforms patient records into one or more graphs that can be interpreted in an instant. Another step could be gathering the information from other devices, like a patient’s pulse monitor, integrating that with other health data and making it all available to doctors. Pulse monitors in particular provide information that could be relevant for assessing a patient’s status over a full 24-hour period.

Visualization of health data is essential for making healthcare more cost-effective and efficient

AI for image analysis

Artificial Intelligence, AI, is one example of the technology that can be used for visualizing health data.

– “AI can be used for rapid image analysis and the technology is getting better all the time at, for example, correctly diagnosing spots on the skin. Of course, doctors are still always the ones making the final decision on treatment, but technology and solutions like this can be very useful and helpful to them,” says Peter Ljungstrand.

He also points out the growing trend of patient homecare. Hospital care is both expensive and complex, with a limited number of beds. Because of that, more and more patients are being cared for in the home, but there is one fundamental problem with that, namely, it puts responsibility on the patient for reacting if their condition worsens or some other type of acute problem arises.

– “Many people reach out too late, requiring an ambulance to be sent or possibly even requiring them to be admitted for intensive care,” says Peter Ljungstrand.

Research project on homecare

In other words, there is a need for some sort of monitoring. A few years ago, RISE collaborated with Karolinska Institutet and a patients’ association on a study of patients with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) who were receiving homecare. The goal of the project was to test a model that could be used for early identification of patients who needed extra intervention.

– “The model was a combination of sensors in the home, along with a tablet that patients used to fill out a simple questionnaire each day. A district nurse was then able to remotely monitor patients each day, based on the data from those sensors and questionnaires. If there were any deviations, a doctor could quickly be notified to intervene,” explains Peter Ljungstrand.

The model combined visualized health data from the questionnaire with objective data collected by the sensors. It is an example of how visualized data save the patient from suffering and also billions in healthcare costs.

– “As I said, this was a research project but similar solutions are now being developed and implements for a variety of applications throughout the country. Visualization of health data is essential for making healthcare more cost-effective and efficient,” says Peter Ljungstrand.

RISE has the expertise required for developing concepts and prototypes for visualization, with individuals skilled in design processes, visualization technology and an understanding of the user’s perspective. By being able to visualize large quantities of data and complex data in the right way, it is possible to quickly see trends and patterns, which can lead to better decisions. 

Published: 2021-05-17
Peter Ljungstrand

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Peter Ljungstrand

Forsknings- och affärsutvecklare

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