Metaphor Graphics to Visualize ICU Data over Time

The Project
The System
The Team

The Project

The aim of the project was to develop a visualization system which support the easy recognition of a patient's status and its change over time. VIE-VISU visualizes data stored periodically (or continuously) in a patient data management system (PDMS) of an intensive care unit (ICU).

The time-oriented analysis of electronic patient records at a (neonatal) intensive care unit is a tedious and time-consuming task. The vast amount of data available makes it hard for the physician to recognize the essential changes over time. VIE-VISU is a data visualization system which uses multiples to present the change in the patient's status over time in graphic form. Metaphor graphics is used to sketch the parameters most relevant in characterizing the situation of a patient.

The change in the patient's status over time is depicted by 24 multiples. Each multiple is a highly structured metaphor graphics object. Each object visualizes important parameters from circulation, ventilation, and fluid balance. One display gives a metaphor graphics summary on a time scale of six hours to six days depending on the user's choice.

The following demonstration page shows a sample display.
Sample VIE-VISU display (24 hours)

The System

The VIE-VISU display system is a client-server application. It is embedded into the standard network of bedside and nursing PDMS workstations at two neonatal intensive care units at the Department of Neonatology, University of Vienna. VIE-VISU is activated by the PDMS using a special applications button. The graphic display is overlayed to the standard PDMS window. VIE-VISU is a Java based application. It communicates with a server providing the necessary data. This data server selects and preprocesses data from the PDMS.

The Project Team

The project is a joint cooperation of the Department of Medical Cybernetics and Artificial Intelligence (IMKAI), the Austrian Research Institute for Artificial Intelligence (ÖFAI), and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the Department of Pediatrics of the University of Vienna:



Werner Horn (email:
WH, 22-Nov-2001