It’s Complicated

Visualizing complex health histories & symptoms for two patients with rare and mystery conditions

Katie McCurdy
Mar 13 · 7 min read

What did we learn?

Dealing with surgery edge cases

I had to modify the timeline design to accommodate her 50 surgeries; with other patients, I’d classified surgeries as ‘treatments,’ since most people I’d worked with just had one or two. In this case, I decided to break them out into their own swim lane to give them space on the canvas.


40 years to diagnosis — that’s not cool

While her Cryoglobulinemia diagnosis was fairly immediate after her symptoms began, her EDS diagnosis took 40 years. After a lifetime of broken bones, joint issues, and surgeries, she was finally diagnosed in 2016 at age 45.


When a symptom map is more useful than a timeline

Since E.’s primary goal was to use the visualizations to communicate her day-to-day physical constraints to a service dog program, she told me that the body shape with symptoms on it was probably going to be more useful to her than the timeline. Here it is again:




Pictal Health

Turning health histories into visual stories

Katie McCurdy

Written by

Designer and researcher focusing on healthcare; founder of Pictal Health; autoimmune patient; chocolate-eater. katiemccurdy.com and pictalhealth.com

Pictal Health

Turning health histories into visual stories