Seeing your stories: visualization for narrative medicine

Hua Ma, Xiaoru Yuan, Xu Sun, Glyn Lawson, Qingfeng Wang

Research output: Journal PublicationArticlepeer-review


Importance: Narrative medicine (NM), in which patient stories play a crucial role in their diagnosis and treatment, can potentially support a more holistic approach to patient care than traditional scientific ones. However, there are some challenges in the implementation of narrative medicine, for example, differences in understanding illnesses between physicians and patients and physicians’ increased workloads and overloaded schedules. This paper first presents a review to explore previous visualization research for narrative medicine to bridge the gap between visualization researchers and narrative medicine experts and explore further visualization opportunities. Highlights: The review is conducted from 2 perspectives: (a) the contexts and domains in which visualization has been explored for narrative medicine and (b) the forms and solutions applied in these studies. Four applied domains are defined, including understanding patients from narrative records, medical communication, medical conversation training in education, and psychotherapy and emotional wellness enhancement. Conclusions: A future work framework illustrates some opportunities for future research, including groups of specific directions and future points for the 4 domains and 3 technological exploration opportunities (combination of narrative and medical data visualization, task-audience-based visual storytelling, and user-centered interactive visualization). Specifically, 3 directions of future work in medical communication (asynchronous online physician-patient communication, synchronous face-to-face medical conversation, and medical knowledge dissemination) were concluded.
Original languageEnglish
Article number0103
JournalHealth Data Science
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jan 2024


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