Leading the charge in biomedical visualization

amia-logo-nobgBiomedical informatics is one of the hottest data science research fields, with scientists publishing hundreds of research papers every year that could impact how patients and doctors access and interact with medical information and the effectiveness of medical treatments.

The field is relatively new and maturing, and to highlight accomplishments and shine a light on emerging trends the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) publishes the annual AMIA Year-in-Review in clinical and consumer informatics. The latest version of the review (2015) referenced 54 published research papers chosen from 724 articles published between Nov. 1, 2014 and Oct. 31, 2015 on the themes of information retrieval, natural language processing, usability and human-computer interaction, and visualization.

For the first time, RENCI is represented in the AMIA Year-in-Review with a research paper titled Innovative Information Visualization of Electronic Health Record Data: A Systematic Review. The paper, first published in the Journal of the AMIA in November 2014, was authored by RENCI’s David Borland, a senior visualization researcher, and two colleagues from the Duke University Center for Health Informatics, Vivian L. West and W. Ed Hammond.

Borland has worked closely with Hammond, the director of the Center for Health Informatics, and West, the center’s associate director of operations, for several years to develop visualization methods that translate large, complicated medical data sets into easy-to-understand formats (for more on their work, click here). Through their efforts, clinicians can see patterns in data that help them understand disease risk factors and symptoms, and point them toward effective treatment plans.

The research article recognized by the Year-in-Review summarizes the team’s investigation of biomedical visualization techniques used between 1996 and 2013 and evaluates different approaches to information visualization of electronic health records (EHRs) for knowledge discovery. The article also identifies the challenges discovered through EHR visualization research, which can help guide other research teams who work to design and improve visualization techniques.

Congratulations to our RENCI-Duke team for their recognition by the AMIA and for continuing to address visualization challenges that promise to have a profound impact on healthcare delivery, disease diagnosis, and human health.

Want to know more about cutting edge visualization work and the science and art of visualization? Plan to attend the Triangle Visualization Group kick-off event Tuesday, Sept. 6 beginning at 6 p.m. The group will meet at the American Tobacco Campus’ American Underground Classroom in Durham beginning at 6 p.m. Food and drinks, a panel discussion by visualization experts, and informal networking will all be featured as part of the free event.

-Karen Green