HealthCampDC 2010 and Healthy Visualizations
HealthCampDC was a different kind of experience for me. First off, everybody was really excited to be there… but more importantly, I think, everybody was really excited to meet and have actual conversations with everyone else there. It was very different from the “let’s put the blinders on and ignore the person next to me while I only pay attention to the panel on stage” kind of conference that I’ve come to know. And that made it a great time.
Being that it was my first Unconference, and being that nobody else had submitted the topic, I felt compelled to facilitate a conversation around health data visualizations. It is a subject that I’m slightly interested in, after all. So I was happy to see that there were a number of individuals who were also interested in the very same topic.
I posted the idea to explore the thought of Healthy Visualizations possibly leading to behavior change, from the perspective of the patient or system user only. I was excited to find out that others looked at Healthy Visualizations from the large aggregated public health data set angle. So we had an interesting conversation meshing those two ideas together, and what emerged was that relating data sets to one another makes for compelling insights.
We talked about the possibility of comparing the individual to the group at large, to incentivize healthy behavior change. Could that work, or would it cause people above the average to slack off, therefore skewing the average in the negative direction over time. I think that would be interesting to test, especially given that there are usually minimum standard requirements for any given condition, and the number of ways the data could be presented to mitigate the risk of coasting.
Merging relative data sets together is where things get interesting to me. During our session, that seemed to be the overall sentiment of the group as well. The Facebook Break-up example was discussed and we all got a good laugh out of thinking about specific times of year being cyclical for people to terminate their relationships. But there is something very interesting resting in the thought of patterns, predictability and our health…
Definitely more to come on this one.
Looking At Data
If you think that data visualizations hold some part of the elusive answer to healthy behavior change, then please hit me up in the comments so we can talk some time. Or if you’re into data visualizations in general, then be sure to check out these fine websites, and the TED talk below: