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an interactive interface that displays VCM (Visualisation des Connaissances Medicales; visualization of medical knowledge) icons organized around an anatomical diagram of the human body with additional mental, etiological & physiological areas. the interface explicitly represents information implicit in the drug monograph, such as the absence of a given contraindication (i.e. the pictogram will be grayed out).

the interface includes 3 identical looking “Mister VCM” interfaces (placed beneath each other): one for absolute contraindications, one for the cautions for use & one for adverse effects. physicians made fewer errors with “Mister VCM” than with text (factor of 1.7) & responded to questions 2.2 times faster.

does it seem an information/infographic designer was involved?

[link: &|thnkx Saket]

UPDATE: Alexis points to an earlier post on Wired Science back in April, together with a downloadable version of the icons.





I gotta say: we covered this over at Wired Science back in April. We even broke out the various little icons so that people could download and play with them:

Plus, we labeled them the "Wingdings of Disease". Yet somehow it got no pick-up.

In any case, feel free to download our icons.

Tue 17 Jun 2008 at 11:43 AM

@Alexis: sorry to not have acknowledged your scoop. one of the reasons of the neglect in pick-up might be the high level understanding required, or maybe the quality of the icons itself?

in terms of medical icons, people might also be interested in this previous post on ZDNet.

Tue 17 Jun 2008 at 1:02 PM

@infosthetics @Alexis: Or possibly how offensive they are. If someone is suffering a brain hemorrhage, I'm sure an icon of a bleeding brain is the last thing they'd like to see.

It's like the 'pain scale' that's been introduced in hospitals lately. On a scale of 'happy-face' to sad-face', how much pain are you in? Simply offensive. I was recently given a 50/50 chance of losing a limb - there is simply no such smiley face to describe that.

And the breasts icon? I won't even go there.

Wed 18 Jun 2008 at 1:18 AM

I agree that they are offensive from a patient perspective. I'd hate to have an icon for my health problem.

Also, they are not the best IMHO. Muscles? That does not say muscles to me. Show a Popeye arm. Pregnancy looks like something funky in a jock strap. Show something that looks like a fetus just in the circle. We don't need to see the pelvic area.

Simply, these could be a lot better.

Thu 19 Jun 2008 at 12:35 PM

This reminds me of the chart in the movie Idiocracy. For those that haven't seen it, instead of filling out a chart at a hospital the receptionist just pushed a button that had an icon acting out a certain ailment. Made sense to me. ;)

Thu 26 Jun 2008 at 7:09 AM

This visualization is not too dissimilar from a visualization from FYI Corporation -- that I first saw several years ago. See

and page 3 of

Fri 27 Jun 2008 at 5:48 AM
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