Even for healthcare providers, interpreting medical records can be tough – they are dense, detailed, poorly organized, and perhaps even illegible. For patients, interpretation of these records would be a lost cause. To tackle this problem, Nightingale, winner of the Health Design Challenge, aims to tackle this problem and created an attractive, simplified, and integrated visual interface for electronic medical records.

In the Health Design Challenge – backed by groups included the VA, ONC, and Rock Health – developers were given a list of data points ranging from demographic information to lab results and essentially create a PHR that patients could actually understand.

Nightingale’s interface, winner among 230 submissions, is designed to enable patients to track appointments with all of the patient’s healthcare providers (and the purpose of those appointments), lab results, medications, and activities. Access is through either a smartphone or web app.

Appointments and lab results are displayed in an intuitive view that can be sorted by time, condition, and type of entry. For each entry, relevant information can be accessed including basic information regarding the patient’s condition, what the labs mean, things patients can do to improve their health, and more.

Notifications, here displayed on the app, are used to help the patient keep up with appointments, prescription refills, medication adherence, and even planned healthy activities like exercise regimens.

Now, the contest curators are integrating the best aspects other contest submissions with Nightingale to develop a final design that will be released as an open-source system on Github for anyone to access.

Given the involvement of the VA in the contest and its recent Blue Button initiative aimed at empowering patients with a better understanding of their health, it wouldn’t be surprising to see some version of this roll out in that setting in the near future. With the growth of web-based EMR’s, particularly prevalent with smaller practices, Nightingale (or its successor) could ultimately find use there as well. In other healthcare settings, where EMR’s like Epic and Allscripts dominate, its not clear how an open-source platform like this could be integrated.

That being said, if it works and patients are able to achieve better outcomes through improved understanding of their health, then we can expect that the principle and design features embedded in this effort will find their way to many more PHR’s.

Nightingale as well as other top submissions can be seen at HealthDesignChallenge.com.

Sources: Health Design Challenge, The Verge