Design can save your life – a new era in health communication

24th May

In the first project of its kind, top design students from Torrens University's Billy Blue College of Design have partnered with WPP AUNZ’s Health & Wellness division to decode clinical data on ‘Medicinal Marijuana in the Treatment of Epilepsy’.  Their creative solutions will be presented at a Vivid Ideas Exchange titled ‘Design can save your life: how can creativity improve comprehension of health data?’ on Friday 8th June at the Museum of Contemporary Art, as part of Vivid Sydney.
This experimental event will challenge the status quo on how health data is traditionally presented. The students will show their reinterpretation of complex health data and how design can transform it into a comprehensible and visually engaging piece. Their solutions will then be critiqued and discussed by a panel of health and design industry experts.
Speakers at the event include WPP Health & Wellness' Head of Brain Sciences Centre in London, David Davenport-Firth; Billy Blue College of Design’s Director of Innovation, Industry and Employability, Eric Thompson; and Director of the Centre for Health Informatics, Professor Enrico Coiera.
“At Billy Blue, we passionately believe design can change the world and one of the ways we pursue this is through collaborations with industry, such as our partnership with WPP. What our students produce in this experiment will demonstrate how smart design could herald a new era in health data comprehension and bring about positive change for society,” said Billy Blue College of Design’s Eric Thompson.
Third-year Bachelor of Communication Design student, Sorrel Hanemann-Fayers, who is participating in the event, said the experience to create a design solution focussed on empathy has been valuable for her learning. “The opportunity to deliver a solution that is user-friendly and will help engage and empower people in their own health decisions has been meaningful and demonstrates the real potential of design in all facets of society,” Sorrel said.  
WPP Health & Wellness’ Head of Brain Sciences Centre David Davenport-Firth said: “Life and death decisions are often made on the basis of interpreting complex health data. However, studies have shown that both healthcare professionals and people seeking treatments or diagnosis are often unable to comprehend the data being presented to them (95 per cent of physicians say it's important to understand all statistics in medical journals, however 75 per cent said they couldn't*).”
He continues: “The effective communication of health data is not just a job, it is a responsibility, and it is a responsibility that we at WPP Health and Wellness take very seriously. For this reason we are collaborating with Billy Blue College of Design, in order to appeal to tomorrow’s leading graphic and information designers today.” 
For more information, including ticket sales visit the event page of the Vivid website here
*Ref: 1. Windish et al 2007. Medicine residents' understanding of the biostatistics and results in the medical literature. JAMA, 298, 1010-1022