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Austria    AsbruView
Data and Plan Visualization

developed by keywords
Institute of Software Technology and Interactive Systems, Vienna University of Technology Visualisation, time-oriented data, computerised clinical guidelines, Asbru
status Download details
Research prototype - under continued development

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Information Visualization is the use of computer-supported interactive visual representations of abstract data to facilitate cognition: Within the Asgaard/Asbru project we focus on data and plan visualization during the design and execution of guideline and protocol applications. We are working on an graphical user interface to Asbru which support the development of guidelines and protocols, called AsbruView . Different methods are in development which are dealing with the visualization of data and plans during the execution phase and are utilizing Focus+Context techniques (e.g., Semantic Depth of Field (SDOF))

Asbru is a complex language which cannot be understood by physicians with no or little training in formal methods. AsbruView is a tool to make Asbru accessible to physicians, and to give any user an overview over a plan hierarchy. AsbruView is based on visual metaphors to make the underlying concepts easier to grasp. This was done because not only is the notation foreign to physicians, but also the underlying concepts.

AsbruView consists of two main views: Topological View (TopoView) and Temporal View (TempView).

  • The Topological View mainly displays the relationships between plans, without a precise time scale. The basic metaphor in this view is the running track.

    Anatomy of an AsbruView Plan in Topological View.

    Anatomy of an AsbruView Plan in Topological View.

  • The Temporal View concentrates on the temporal dimension of plans and conditions. In addition to the topological information, physicians need to be able to see the details of the temporal extensions of plans. For this purpose, the temporal view is used. It consists of a display that represents each plan with a so-called glyph, i.e., a graphical object whose features change with the values they depict:

    Example screen shot of the Temporal View
    Example screen shot of the Temporal View.

  • references
    Kosara R, Miksch S. Metaphors of Movement: A Visualization and User Interface for Time-Oriented, Skeletal Plans, Artificial Intelligence in Medicine, Special Issue: Information Visualization in Medicine, pp. 111-131, 22(2), 2001.


    [paper - AIM]
    [U Vienna - Paper]

    " Therapy planning plays an increasingly important role in the everyday work of physicians. Clinical protocols or guidelines are typically represented using flow-charts, decision tables, or plain text. These representations are badly suited, however, for complex medical procedures.One representation method that overcomes these problems is the language Asbru. But because Asbru has a LISP-like syntax (and also incorporates many concepts from computer science), it is not suitable for physicians.Therefore, we developed a visualization and user interface to deal with treatment plans expressed in Asbru. We use graphical metaphors to make the underlying concepts easier to grasp, employ glyphs to communicate complex temporal information and colors to make it possible to understand the connection between the two views (Topological View and Temporal View) available in the system.In this paper, we present the design ideas behind AsbruView, and discuss its usefulness based on the results of a usability study we performed with six physicians. "

    Miksch, S., Kosara, R., Shahar, Y., and Johnson, P. AsbruView: Visualization of time-oriented, skeletal plans. In: The Fourth International Conference on Artificial Intelligence Planning Systems 1998 (AIPS-98) (Carnegie-Mellon University, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), AAAI Press, Menlo Park, CA, 11-18.

    [SMI - Abstract]    [U. Vienna - paper]

    " Skeletal plans are a powerful way to reuse existing domain-specific procedural knowledge. The main draw-backs are that the compositions and the interdependencies of different skeletal plans and their components are not lucid. The aim of this paper is to overcome these limitations and to present the visualization of time-oriented, skeletal plans. Within the Asgaard project, we have developed a time-oriented and intention-based language, called Asbru, to represent such skeletal plans. The Asbru syntax is defined in Backus-Naur form (BNF). Reading BNF or similar forms are next to impossible even for domain experts. We explored different representations and automated knowledge-acquisition tools. However, the domain experts did not accept any of these representations. Consequently, we investigated different metaphor graphics and ended up with a plan visualization utilizing the metaphors of "tracks" and "traffic" called AsbruView. We formatively evaluated different approaches of this plan visualization with physicians applying treatment protocols of mechanical ventilated newborn infants. "

    contact links
    Robert Kosara

    Silvia Miksch

    Institute of Software Technology and Interactive Systems
    Vienna University of Technology
    Favoritenstrasse 9-11/188
    A-1040 Vienna
     bullet  AsbruView  bullet  AsbruView download  bullet  Asbru [OC]
    Robert Kosara and Silvia Miksch, Vienna University of Technology, Institute of Software Technology and Interactive Systems, Vienna, Austria
    Entry on OpenClinical: 20 May 2005
    Last main update: 20 May 2005
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