What can others learn from the successes and failures of the way you’ve unlocked the value of big data?: 

The SMART pediatric growth chart exemplifies the use of data in an accessible and human way. Previously, the way that the data for a child’s development was being interpreted was specific to doctors plotting points and extrapolating insights. We realized early on that the way in which they interpreted data took years of experience and was not something that a parent or non-professional could easily understand. To get the most out of the data being input, but also the data being compared against, our designers worked side-by-side with healthcare practitioners from the very beginning to co-create. This meant that we could get expert input on important data points as well as receive immediate feedback regarding the effectiveness of the design. From our collaborative approach, we quickly gained insights into what information should be displayed in a dashboard view as well as how it should be displayed to allow practitioners to visualize a child’s developmental health patterns. Furthermore, by working with this expert panel of pediatric specialists, we were able to uncover the need for contextual data. Doctors desired the ability to compare a child’s development against local patterns, other data sources, and in cases where a child has a known developmental issue (such as Downs Syndrome), against data particular to that group. With this fine-tuned understanding of the necessary data, Fjord transformed a complex, paper-based chart into a chart that helps healthcare providers to see potential problems at a glance, reduce error, and also provide the parents with a way to more easily understand the health, wellness, and progression of their child.

What were your expectations of the value hidden in your data, and how did they influence the design of your solution?: 

Given that these data points have been used for decades, we aimed to ascertain the ways in which displaying different data together could reveal more about a child’s development. We knew that there would be more effective ways to help healthcare providers see potential developmental issues through the visual display of data as well as the grouping of critical data points. We also already knew that parents were not getting much value out of the existing data. Therefore, our goal was to improve diagnosis as well as give parents a better understanding for their child’s development and wellbeing. This influenced our approach because we were aware that we needed to work closely with those in the field to understand their pain points as well as opportunity areas. It also influenced our approach to designing the service so that it was approachable and put the data in human terms. As a result, we pulled together a panel of doctors to collaborate with in order to help optimize the use of data. In designing for the parental view, we employed user-centered design and infographic data visualization to display data in highly visual and easily digestible ways.

How might your solution be extended or adapted to address additional types of data and other questions?: 

The SMART pediatric growth chart is a powerful example of how Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) can be improved. We turned an old, paper-based system into a chart that electronically tracks data over time as well as gives valuable feedback immediately. From the perspective of the impact this has on the wider healthcare system, the collaboration between doctors and designers has revealed a powerful and meaningful partnership. This project is an example of the impact that design can have on improving healthcare, both from the practitioner standpoint and for patients and their families. We believe that the improvement of EMRs can extend to all aspects of our healthcare, building a history for patients over their lifetime while also allowing patients to be in better control of their own health and wellness. At an individual level, it allows healthcare providers with access to information that will allow them to better treat patients. At an aggregate, it gives the healthcare system more access to greater amounts of reliable data around patients and progress to treatments or trends. By utilizing design, the healthcare system has the potential to improve their ability to diagnose and treat patients as well as the ability for people to better grasp their own health.