Decision-Centered Design of Patient Information Visualizations to Support Chronic Pain Care

Christopher A. Harle, Julie Diiulio, Sarah M. Downs, Elizabeth C. Danielson, Shilo Anders, Robert L. Cook, Robert W. Hurley, Burke W. Mamlin, Laura G. Militello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


Background ?For complex patients with chronic conditions, electronic health records (EHRs) contain large amounts of relevant historical patient data. To use this information effectively, clinicians may benefit from visual information displays that organize and help them make sense of information on past and current treatments, outcomes, and new treatment options. Unfortunately, few clinical decision support tools are designed to support clinical sensemaking. Objective ?The objective of this study was to describe a decision-centered design process, and resultant interactive patient information displays, to support key clinical decision requirements in chronic noncancer pain care. Methods ?To identify key clinical decision requirements, we conducted critical decision method interviews with 10 adult primary care clinicians. Next, to identify key information needs and decision support design seeds, we conducted a half-day multidisciplinary design workshop. Finally, we designed an interactive prototype to support the key clinical decision requirements and information needs uncovered during the previous research activities. Results ?The resulting Chronic Pain Treatment Tracker prototype summarizes the current treatment plan, past treatment history, potential future treatments, and treatment options to be cautious about. Clinicians can access additional details about each treatment, current or past, through modal views. Additional decision support for potential future treatments and treatments to be cautious about is also provided through modal views. Conclusion ?This study designed the Chronic Pain Treatment Tracker, a novel approach to decision support that presents clinicians with the information they need in a structure that promotes quick uptake, understanding, and action.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-728
Number of pages10
JournalApplied clinical informatics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • ambulatory care/primary care
  • clinical decision support
  • cognition
  • data visualization
  • electronic health records and systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Informatics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Health Information Management

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  • Cite this

    Harle, C. A., Diiulio, J., Downs, S. M., Danielson, E. C., Anders, S., Cook, R. L., Hurley, R. W., Mamlin, B. W., & Militello, L. G. (2019). Decision-Centered Design of Patient Information Visualizations to Support Chronic Pain Care. Applied clinical informatics, 1(4), 719-728.