On the use of interactive visualization to provide access to the knowledge contained in medical discussion forums


Stakeholders in the health care (patients, caregivers, providers, regulators) are starting to utilize information outside of traditional channels for their decision making. One example are health-related discussion forums, where people share their experience about various medical topics. A lot of information however is created in an unstructured text form, making it hard to gain the desired information in a reasonable way.

Therefore this thesis provides a set of visualization techniques which support the gain of knowledge that is contained in medical discussion forums. On the use of parallel tag clouds the context in which important terms occur in forum threads can be observed. The evolution of forum topics can be visualized through an interactive time line where distinctive events can be made visible with a novel term lens. Relations between different terms such as drugs and conditions are illustrated in different manners allowing the observation of closely related terms.