Visualization approaches to support healthy aging: A systematic review

Uba Backonja, Nai-Ching Chi, Yong Choi, Amanda K Hall, Thai Le, Youjeong Kang, George Demiris

Abstract


Background: Health technologies have the potential to support the growing number of older adults who are aging in place. Many tools include visualizations (data visualizations, visualizations of physical representations). However, the role of visualizations in supporting aging in place remains largely unexplored.

Objective: To synthesize and identify gaps in the literature evaluating visualizations (data visualizations and visualizations of physical representations), for informatics tools to support healthy aging.

Methods: We conducted a search in CINAHL, Embase, Engineering Village, PsycINFO, PubMed, and Web of Science using a priori defined terms for publications in English describing community-based studies evaluating visualizations used by adults aged ≥65 years.

Results: Six out of the identified 251 publications were eligible. Most studies were user studies and varied methodological quality. Three visualizations of virtual representations supported performing at-home exercises. Participants found visual representations either (a) helpful, motivational, and supported their understanding of their health behaviors or (b) not an improvement over alternatives. Three data visualizations supported understanding of one’s health. Participants were able to interpret data visualizations that used precise data and encodings that were more concrete better than those that did not provide precision or were abstract. Participants found data visualizations helpful in understanding their overall health and granular data.

Conclusions: Studies we identified used visualizations to promote engagement in exercises or understandings of one’s health. Future research could overcome methodological limitations of studies we identified to develop visualizations that older adults could use with ease and accuracy to support their health behaviors and decision-making.


Keywords


Aged; consumer health information; data display; informatics; visualization

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.14236/jhi.v23i3.860

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