SMART Pediatric Growth Chart is the result of a collaboration between SMART (Substitutable Medical Apps, Reusable Technologies) Project, medical software developer MedAppTech, and Fjord. SMART is based at Harvard Medical School and Boston Children's Hospital, both in Boston, MA. SMART's goal is to create a platform across different Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) systems that would allow them to run applications created by third parties.
The SMART team chose the pediatric growth chart as a powerful use case, because it is essential for monitoring and communicating about the health of all children and existing EMR growth charts were difficult for clinicians and parents to use and interpret. With this challenge in mind, SMART's researchers engaged Fjord to design a pediatric growth chart that makes vital health information clear and engaging for both clinicians and parents.
Service design lead, Charlie Gower, and visual design lead, Brian McLaughlin, of Fjord, worked with SMART, MedAppTech, clinicians, informaticians, and medical sociologists to create an interactive dashboard that would quickly highlight the most important aspects of a patient's overall health.
"Data visualizations should tell human stories. With our re-design of the pediatric growth chart each story is communicated for both the expert and the family," commented Charlie. "There is a huge opportunity for user-centered design to revolutionize patient care."
SMART engaged MedAppTech to convert Fjord's design into a fully functional web app. Released in May 2013, the open source SMART Pediatric Growth Chart app was spotted by Think!Med Clinical, a hospital information systems company, which integrated it into their EMR for use at the Children's Hospital at Ljubljana University Medical Centre, Slovenia's largest healthcare institution. Physicians at the Children's Hospital have praised the easy to use interface and ability to compare different population data sources.
"Teaming medical and technical professionals with designers made this effort a win not only in terms of the prestigious Red Dot Award but also for clinicians and their patients. The SMART Pediatric Growth Chart app is a beautiful design for addressing vital clinical objectives," said David Kreda, SMART's Translation Advisor and the product manager for the app.
"The app improves a clinician's ability to grasp growth trends at a glance and aids detecting deviations from what is expected, the essential purpose of growth charts. Furthermore, it presents body-mass results intelligibly for parents, showing how communications design can be enlisted to help with a major public health challenge."