More than words: how visuals can help us heal healthcare
Cucalorus Connect, Wilmington, NC November 2019
The culture of healthcare is built on words: spoken, written, and typed words. But in many cases, words don’t work. They can’t efficiently explain bodily sensations or lifetime journeys; they can’t sufficiently show emotions or trauma. As a result, patients and doctors often don’t understand each other, and our broken healthcare system bumbles along. We know there’s a better way. I collaborated on this session with the awesome Dr. Anita Ravi, founder of the PurpLE Health Foundation and comic artist.

How visual health histories help patients feel heard, seen and believed
Medicine X CHANGE, Palo Alto, CA September 2019
I had the pleasure of speaking again at the Medicine X CHANGE event in the fall of 2019. I shared case studies and insights from my work helping patients visualize their health histories.

How visual health histories optimize – and humanize – healthcare communication
Health Datapalooza, Washington, DC, March 2019
One major barrier to communication in doctor visits is that it’s hard to tell and understand complex stories in rushed, 15-minute appointments. As a result many patients aren’t getting the right diagnosis and treatment, and doctors are burning out. Visualizing data – both medical record data and other key aspects of a patient’s story – can help patients and doctors communicate better and work together more efficiently. In this talk I shared how health history timelines have helped me and other patients collaborate better with our doctors, and I illustrated how visualizing our health can revolutionize our healthcare system. Here’s me with a bunch of other walking gallery members at the event:

Seminar: Visual Thinking in Healthcare
August 2018
I led a full-day seminar with a hospital innovation team to help them develop their drawing skills and become more confident visual communicators. We practiced doodling to relax the mind, we learned the basics of the visual alphabet, and we practiced using different types of diagrams. We also had a ton of fun, ate lots of chocolate, and did some important reflecting on how we can find focus and creativity in our days.

“Katie is truly amazing and knowledgeable in these subjects. She presented information succinctly and effectively while promoting a sense of calm relaxation for learning. Anyone could benefit from her course.” -Attendee

Interested in bringing this seminar to your organization? Contact me!

Visualizing symptoms, sensations and stories: trends in how people picture their health
Graphic Medicine Conference 2018, White River Junction, VT August 2018
Visuals can help us communicate more efficiently and develop a better mutual understanding – and in healthcare this can be a matter of life or death. In this talk I shared my personal experience with symptom and health visualization, investigated trends in how others represent their symptoms and stories, and shared insights learned while co-creating detailed health history timelines with other patients as part of my new company, Pictal Health.

Workshop: ‘Co-Creating Visual Conversations: Using Imagery to Augment Patient Visits’
Medicine X, Palo Alto, CA, September 2017
Along with with pediatrician Chethan Sarabu, I co-led a workshop that guided participants through a series of visual exercises intended to help them communicate more effectively at the time of a doctor visit. Here is an article we had put out on this topic prior to the workshop, and here is an in-depth summary of our findings.

Be Like Water: Strategies for Infusing Design in Healthcare Organizations
Interaction17, New York, NY, February 2017
Fellow designer Jeremy Beaudry and I presented on how we have used generative, participatory, and action-oriented design methods and tools to creatively and empathetically solve complex healthcare problems at the UVM Medical Center, all the while changing perceptions of what work looks like. Learn how human-centered design can help bring the human scale back to the heart of our healthcare institutions.


Using Data and Customer Insights to Drive Design
Vermont Web Marketing Summit, Burlington, VT, October 2016
Andy Campbell and I presented on how we at the UVM Medical Center have used quantitative and qualitative data – analytics, heatmaps, interviews, surveys, and usability testing results – to make design changes and help set our team up for a total redesign. We give specific examples of how what we learned translated to design tweaks, and we do a deep dive on how we’ve used personas and design principles in our process.

Panel: ‘Designing Within a Hospital System: Challenges and Strategies’
HxRefactored, Boston, MA, April 2016
I helped organize and moderate a panel of designers who work within hospital systems so that we could discuss and share information about the unique challenges we face, and how we are addressing those challenges in our diverse institutions. Jeremy Beaudry and I represented University of Vermont Medical Center; we had Nick Dawson from Johns Hopkins Sibley Hospital; Matt Van Der Tuyn from Penn Medicine; and Lenny Naar from the HELIX Centre in London.


Workshop: ‘New Definitions of Patient Engagement’
HxRefactored, Boston, MA, April 2016
Along with my colleague Jeremy Beaudry, I co-led a workshop that guided participants through a series of creative and storytelling exercises intended to help redefine the problematic term ‘Patient Engagement.’ Here is an article about our experience.


Workshop: ‘Participatory Design: the beating heart of collaborative innovation’
UX Strategies Summit, San Francisco, CA, November 2015
Along with Susan Dybbs, I co-led a workshop to help attendees at the UX Strategies Summit learn about Participatory Design. We led the group through exercises intended to help them understand what it is like to be a participant in a participatory design session, and then we helped them understand what went into that exercise and how to plan their own session. I’ve captured resources about participatory design, for anyone who is interested, here.

Panel: Implications for Sharing and Receiving Personal Health Data
VITL Summit, Burlington, VT, October 2015
I moderated this panel on bringing patient-generated data into the clinical setting. On my panel were Nina Gilmore, a patient and business intelligence designer; David Haddad, Executive Director of Open mHealth; and Marie Sandoval, Internal Medicine physician.

Designing with Empathy
UX Burlington, Burlington, VT, June 2015
This talk covered the basics about what user research actually is, how to do it, and the value it brings to the design process; I also cover some very specific, interface-level examples of how user research has impacted designs. Slides below, and video is here.

Spreadsheet from Hell
Quantified Self Conference, San Francisco, CA June 2015
I presented an ignite talk on my personal experience with tracking my health using a spreadsheet. I don’t enjoy tracking, but I do it; and I color my spreadsheet with a fiery palette. Thus, spreadsheet ‘from hell.’ Slides are below:

Co-Design: Bringing Users into the Process
Design for Health course at Stanford, May 2014
Co-presented a session on Co-Design, along with Nick Dawson, to an audience of medical students, community members, and a live twitter audience.

Better Healthcare by Design: How Data Visualization, Behavior Change Techniques, and User-Centered Design Can Create Successful Products
Digital Health Conference, November 2013
Moderated a panel on Design + Healthcare, featuring three awesome designers I am proud to know: Steve Dean, Molly Lafferty, and Dustin DiTommaso. Here are our slides.


Workshop: ‘All together now: leveraging Participatory Design to create innovative and user-centered healthcare solutions’
Stanford Medicine X, September 2013
Led a Participatory Design workshop with Susan Dybbs – then at Cooper, now at Collective Health.

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Help me visualize my damn data!
Eyeo Festival, June 2013
I gave an ignite talk to a large room containing some of the world’s preeminent data visualizers and creative coders. The topic was about my health history timeline, and the value of helping patients *like me* visualize our health data.

Patient Innovators and Instigators
Healthcare Experience Design , March 2013
I love to collect examples of patients who have used their unique strengths to help solve their own problems. I organized a panel of patients who have used design and statistics skills to create unique solutions for themselves.

Measuring Memories: What I learned from visualizing my medical story
Stanford Medicine X, September 2012
I gave an ignite talk to an audience of clinicians, entrepreneurs, designers, and patients about how I created a visual timeline of my health story and used it to better communicate with my doctors. For more on this topic, see this blog post.