Aberdeen polygons: Computer displays of physiological profiles for intensive care

C A Green, R H Logie, K J Gilhooly, D G Ross, A Ronald

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The clinician in an intensive therapy unit is presented regularly with a range of information about the current physiological state of the patients under care. This information typically comes from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats. A more integrated form of display incorporating several physiological parameters may be helpful therefore. Three experiments are reported that explored the potential use of analogue, polygon diagrams to display physiological data from patients undergoing intensive therapy. Experiment 1 demonstrated that information can be extracted readily from such diagrams comprising 8- or 10-sided polygons, but with an advantage for simpler polygons and for information displayed at the top of the diagram. Experiment 2 showed that colour coding removed these biases for simpler polygons and the top of the diagram, together with speeding the processing time. Experiment 3 used polygons displaying patterns of physiological data that were consistent with typical conditions observed in the intensive care unit. It was found that physicians can readily learn to recognize these patterns and to diagnose both the nature and severity of the patient's physiological state. These polygon diagrams appear to have some considerable potential for use in providing on-line summary information of a patient's physiological state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)412-428
Number of pages17
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1996


  • physiological profile
  • intensive care
  • diagnosis
  • nursing
  • medical
  • pattern recognition
  • mental representation
  • compatibility
  • displays
  • interface design

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