Over 30 weeks, Virgil Wong worked with nine patients to create an innovative data visualization project.
Each patient tracked their symptoms using an iPad app created by Virgil Wong, designer Katie McCurdy, and their company Medical Avatar LLC The app allows users to create 3-D avatars of themselves, place colored shapes on their bodies to represent different symptoms, and record symptom changes over time.
Wong met with the participants on a regular basis, observed their use of the app, and made drawings of them. Patients recorded data on the daily occurrence of each symptom, its severity, and how the visuals may have influenced conversations with their doctors.
On the left side of each portrait, Wong selected one of his patient sketches and added each of the symptom shapes selected by the patient. On the right side, symptoms experienced each day are represented by colors chosen by the patient. Each row indicates an entire week, and each column indicates a specific day within the given week.
When patients experienced more than one symptom on a given day, the symptom with greater severity is indicated in the graph. While the app records the exact time duration and intensity a symptom is experienced on a given day, the data visualization only shows that a symptom occurred at some point on a designated day.
This work was featured in The Roanoke Times: Blacksburg native seeks to understand pain, healing through art