Visualizing health

Individual Author(s) / Organizational Author
Fagerlin, Angela
An, Larry
Resnicow, Ken
Exe, Nicole
Derry, Holly
Larkin, Knoll
University of Michigan Center for Health Communications Research
January 2014
Abstract / Description

When it comes to our bodies, data abounds. We all have a blood pressure, weight, cholesterol levels,A1c, BMI, and more. We have risks, too. We might have or be at risk for cancer, or heart disease, or have a higher risk of experiencing a side effect of a medication or treatment than someone else.

In theory, this data can help us make better decisions about our health. Should I take this pill? Will it help me more than it hurts me? How can I reduce my risk? And so on.

But for individuals, it’s not always easy to understand what the numbers are telling us. And for those communicating the information – doctors, hospitals, researchers, public health professionals — it’s not always clear what sort of presentation will make the most sense to the most people.

That problem is the inspiration behind Visualizing Health, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Michigan Center for Health Communications Research. This site contains TK examples of tested visualizations – that is, graphic displays of health information that we’ve evaluated through research among the general public. Our objective was to create a gallery of beautiful and easy-to-make-sense-of graphs, charts, and images that effectively communicate risk information. Health data that makes sense.

These visualizations are distributed via a Creative Commons license, which allows anybody – academics, healthcare organizations, even for-profit businesses — to adapt them for their own objectives. Please use them – and tell us how you’re using them. (author introduction)


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Reference Type
P4HE Authored