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Visualizing the health care overhaul

January 27, 2011

About a month ago I was at a party talking about my work as a health care reporter and someone complained about how confusing the nation’s health care overhaul is.  He said, “wouldn’t it be great if someone could create clear illustrations about what each section means?”  It looks like he got his wish.

RISD professor (and the woman I almost rented an apartment from!) Lindsay Kinkade is walking her students through that practice in a course  called Making It (Healthcare reform) Understandable.  According to the course blog, students will take portions of the health care overhaul legislation and use graphic design to explain it.

How can complex public policy such as this legislative milestone in national healthcare be communicated to the public so that citizens can make informed assessments and judgments? Bringing their diverse visual and conceptual skills, students will experiment with effective ways of translating a written legislative document into effective visual and graphic design that makes the information clear, accessible and understandable.

Student work from this course will also be on display at RISD’s Make It Better symposium, a collection of conversations about how to use art and design in health care innovation.

I’ll try to post examples of the final product when they’re available.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. January 27, 2011 11:32 pm

    Megan,
    thank you for posting this. I am looking forward to this–the complexity of the system isn’t worth visualization (harken back to when H. Clinton took that on), but rather it may yield the conversation about creating better connections, focusing on health rather than sickness, and results rather than more tests. Medicine is still an art form and health care is still very profitable.

    Design can help us to understand. Yet I wonder maybe the understanding is we really don’t need all these extra steps, and then folks will “get” that a system that rewards health and collaboration is the way to go.

    • January 27, 2011 11:35 pm

      Thanks for your comments Michelle, and thanks for reading The Pulse!

  2. January 28, 2011 7:40 pm

    Check out the video prepared by the Kaiser Foundation. I used it in several presentations and it helped get the audience to a basic understanding.

  3. Amy Black permalink
    January 28, 2011 7:53 pm

    This is so great. Thanks for sharing Megan!

  4. January 10, 2012 2:04 pm

    Final student work from 2011 and ongoing work from our new class in 2012 is online at our blog http://makingitunderstandable.tumblr.com/

    Please be in touch if you would like to visit our class or collaborate in any way.

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