23 October 2012

Seeing Science: The Wonderful World of Health Infographics

In previous posts I've claimed that I am more right-brained than left (recall my lack of interest in anything math related "Dammit, I'm a Doctor not a Mathematician!"...Well I'm a Librarian, But I'm Still Not a Mathematician).   Lets indulge my right side for a moment, from what I've been told about my ruling 'stars' I seem to have a bit of Virgo's 'attention to detail'  creeping in on my Libra 'easygoing-ness'. Sounds like the best of both worlds right? WRONG!  What this actually does is create a monster of a non-traditional Librarian who is constantly battling between being manic for minutia and broad brainstorming. Where one little thing can set my crazed inner Librarian off, another gets lost in an ever-growing pile of who-knows-what-or-when-it-got-there on my desk. Imagine then the daily, yet toxic mix, both elating and overwhelming, of  information coming across my desk (with only one way out from my Info Wading Room being an alternate career).

Now that I've set the scene enter the day I came across a new form of information: The Infographic (which in my mind deserves capitalization).  It was the day I realized there may be others out there like me, those that love the detail but prefer it not to be at the expense of the aesthetic, like a true Libra, this Librarian likes the scales to be balanced.  An Infographic is essentially a truckload of detail distilled down in an easy to digest graphic form with minimal text.  They are fun, informative, visually pleasing and content rich: like I said, the perfect balance!

For the often complicated realm of health and healthcare this sort of tool has so many possibilities. I've made a home-grown one to convey a little of what the Library does and I kid you not I'm hoping some day I have enough time to create an Infographic annual report! More than anything I think they are a great way to get across health information to consumers patients, and families.  I have posted the Information is Beautiful Infographic Snake Oil in The Science of Supplements but there are so many more!  Lastly though, like any information out there, there's always the issue of quality, bias, intent etc. so keep these close at hand when looking at Infographics.

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