By Katie McCurdy
Katie McCurdy is a Vermont-based patient and User Experience Designer focusing on healthcare.
The fact is, my doctors have a very limited view into who I really am. Their EHR technology does not represent me as a full person, and it can’t tell them anything about what I’m experiencing at home and out in the world. Technology is failing to give doctors and patients the information they need to make decisions together.
For the last few years I’ve worked to fill that gap through self-tracking, data visualization, and drawing pictures to communicate about my health. (I’m a designer who already uses visuals to communicate complex concepts, so this comes somewhat naturally to me.) Technology has certainly played a role in my projects, but often I’ve ‘gone analog’ (usually to paper and pencil) out of necessity or convenience. Let me tell you about a few of these attempts.
A few years ago, in an attempt to communicate more succinctly with a new doctor, I created a timeline of two of my major symptoms (muscle weakness and gut symptoms) over the course of my lifetime. I created the timeline by hand, and then put it into graphics software to make it more legible and ensure I could continue to add to it.