Data Visualization for Teens with Chronic Pain

Data Visualization for Teens with Chronic Pain

DFP Student Team: Unma Desai (MSc, Computer Science, UBC); Devarsh Bhonde (PhD, Civil Engineering, UBC); Haomiao Zhang (MSc, Mechanical Engineering, UBC); Katra Farah (MEd, Curriculum and Pedagogy, UBC); Rubia Guerra (MSc, Computer Science, UBC)

Faculty Consultants: Tim Oberlander (Pediatrics & School of Population and Public Health), Katelynn Boerner (Pediatrics), Karon MacLean (Computer Science)

Chronic pain is a common pediatric condition for youth, and current literature indicates that the mental health of patients can impact the chronic pain experience. In this context, a group of researchers at the BCCHR developed an ecological momentary assessment (EMA) survey, containing questions in key areas to record contextual information around the mental and physical wellbeing of 12-18 years old chronic pain patients. However, there is no existing tool for chronic pain patients to comprehend this survey response easily. In this project, we designed data visualizations based on the personal health data generated through the EMA, which aim to help improve mental health and general functioning in these patients. The team conducted several rounds of user interviews with various stakeholders, based on which we developed a set of visualizations using pilot data. We also prototyped a comprehensive mobile application for patients to engage with the visualizations, and conducted a usability study with proxy users to evaluate our prototypes. Through this project, we went through an iterative design and testing process to design data visualization prototypes that could act as interventions for young chronic pain patients to track their progress of pain, emotion, sleep and peer interaction. Further based on the feedback and literature, we formulated design guidelines for health data visualization for youth with chronic pain.

2 thoughts on “Data Visualization for Teens with Chronic Pain”

  1. Great problem identification. Youth mental health is so important, and chronic pain is something so many teens experience without a path to help.

    The app is beautiful, and I love the colour emphasis. When I think of the teenagers I know, and watch how they interact with their phones, and what motivates them, the first thought that comes to mind is gamification – how sticky an app is. From an adult perspective, I would use an app like this 3 times per day happily, and learn more about my physical and mental health. I wonder if compliance for teens would be difficult to achieve without some sort of reward built in? Particularly if they needed to log in 3 times per day – what would motivate them to continue using it beyond the first few days?

    Love the thought of connecting data on daily experience with a reporting functionality to share with health practioners!

    1. Hi Kari,

      Thanks so much for your feedback!
      We did try to use color as an important medium to share information, so glad to see that works! We do agree, compliance and engagement is quite different between teens and adults, and part of our design process in developing the visualizations was trying to make them engaging enough for our target demographic of teens aged 12-18.
      We hope the data visualizations and app, in general, are to an extent engaging enough for the users to return, but we would also like to do a long-term user study with our target demographic to actually explore the user engagement aspect a bit more and see what other measures we could implement!

      Team DataViz

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