## The Power of Paper

Here are ruminations on the real power of the paper and other “two dimensional” surfaces we use to present data or information. Inspired by respectful scientists of visualization since 1960s…

Typical answer from many (all?) of you about dimensions of the paper is 2 (two). Not a big surprise.

Paper sheet, two dimensions

You see vertical and horizontal axis, what is called width and height. Below is a typical sheet to confirm you are right.

Width, Height

Let’s look at the same sheet more carefully. There is a gradient light/shadow on it. Consider the strength of the light or shadow as a value. It is true third dimension. We’ve got the sheet with three dimensions: width, height and value.

Width, Height, Value

Well, so what? We squeezed three dimensions. What else?
Of course there is opportunity for fourth dimension:) Let’s pay attention to the surface of the paper, represent it as a texture, thus make it applicable for digital visualizations. Texture could be different. Don’t mix it with the pattern. Same texture could be scaled in and out, but it is still same texture. Below is a same sheet with texture as fourth dimension.

Width, Height, Value, Texture

What else? Is our piece of paper done? No! There is fifth dimension – color. Code something into color and you use five dimensions. Don’t mess up value and color, they are different things. Hence, below is a same sheet with five dimensions.

Width, Height, Value, Texture, Color

At this point I am sure you are confident that we are still able to use even more dimensions. Here is 6th. Size. The sheet could be of different size. Smaller, bigger. Size also encodes, size does matter.

6 dimensions

Very good. What else on that piece of paper (or digital picture) is capable to encode? The shape. Different shapes encode different things. Below are samples of the shapes, all with 6 dimensions. Together with shape encoding we are getting 7 dimensions.

7 dimensions

OK, we are not finished yet. There is still a dimension to use. Guess what? Orientation. The sheet (and digital image) could be oriented differently. Independent of shape or size. Below is example.

8 dimensions

So here you go – 8 dimensions to use during information visualization. All 8 are applicable for paper and digital designs. Very important for efficient BI designs. How to fit Big Data into single widget? Make information from data. But what if information is big too? Use efficient information modeling to get much much more from the same piece of space. This is design wisdom. Use it. Start from 4-5 dimensions. Continue to 8.

## Mobile EMR, Part IV

This is continuation of Mobile EMR, Part III.

It happened to be possible to fit more information to the single pager! We’ve extended EKG slightly, reworked LABs results, reworked measurements (charts) and inserted a genogram. Probably the genogram brings majority of new information in comparison to other updates.

## v4 of mEMR concept

Right now the concept of mobile EMR looks this way…

Mobile EMR v4

## New ‘All Data’ charts

Initially the charts of measured values have been from dots. Recent analysis and reviews tended to connect the dots, but things are not so straightforward… There could be kind of sparkline for the current period (7-10 days). Applicability of sparkline technique to represent data from the entire last year is suspicious. Furthermore, if more data is available from the past, then it will be a mess rather than a visualization, because there is so narrow space allocated for old data. Sure, the section of the chart could be wider, but does it worth it?

What is most informative from the past periods? Anomalies, such as low and high values, especially in comparison with current values. Hence we’ve left old data as dots, previous year data as dots, and made current short period as line chart. We’ve added min/max points to ease the analysis of the data for MD.

## Genogram

Having genogram on the default screen seems very useful. User testing needed to test the concept on real genograms, to check the sizes of genograms used most frequently. Anyhow, it is always possible to show part of the genogram as expanded diagram, while keep some parts collapsed. The genogram could be interactive. When MD clicks on it, she gets to the new screen totally devoted to the genogram with all detailed attributes present. Editing could be possible too. While default screen should represent such view onto the genogram that relates to the current or potential diagnosis the patient has.

In the future the space allocated for the genogram could be increased, based on the speed of evolution of genetic-based treatments. May be visualization of personal genotyping will be put onto the home screen very soon. There are companies providing such service and keeping such data (e.g. 23andme). Eventually all electronic data will be integrated, hence MDs will be able to see patients genotyped data from EMR app on the tablet.

## DNA Sequence

This is mid term future. DNA sequencing is still a long process today. But we’ve got the technology how to deliver DNA sequence information onto the tablet. The technology is similar to BigImage(tm). Predefined levels of information deliver could be defined, such as genes, exoms and finally entire genotype. For sure additional layers overlays will be needed to simplify visual perception and navigation thru the genetic information. So technology should be advanced with that respect.