Our goal is to use visuals to enable better communication and collaboration between patients and doctors – so that patients can get the diagnosis and treatment they need and get back to their lives.
We imagine a future in which visualizing health information is the new standard, patients drive their own health narrative, doctors and patients are true partners, and rates of undiagnosed and misdiagnosed patients plummet as a result.
Hi, I’m Katie McCurdy. I'm a designer, autoimmune patient, and founder of Pictal Health.
I created Pictal on the principle that showing is better than telling. I've used visuals to communicate about my health with my doctors for many years. I've used timelines, especially when going to a new doctor for the first time:
These have helped me talk through my health history and make sure I don't leave anything out. Multiple doctors have said “that’s the coolest thing ever.”
I have also used symptom drawings to communicate with doctors and show them how I am feeling. Here are some from a few years ago when I was having mysterious symptoms:
I took these to my doctor appointment, and fortunately I was able to troubleshoot the problem and fix what was wrong.
You can read more about my story here. I've used other types of drawings, graphs, diagrams, and other visuals to communicate with my doctors and understand my health; there's a good summary of them here.
What have these experiences have taught me?
Visuals help doctors absorb my story.
Although they are trained to use verbal communication, visuals help increase doctors' understanding and prevent them from having to keep as much information in their ‘working memory’ at any one time.
- Telling my story visually helps me communicate more effectively.
I remember what I want to say, and I can tell a more coherent and efficient story.
- I feel better when I can 'see' what is going on.
The act of preparing and creating visuals about my health has helped me feel more in-control and knowledgeable about what is happening to me.
Now, Pictal Health is bringing this capability to others.
We currently offer worksheets and 1-on-1 support to help patients understand and visualize their health stories.
We are also working on ways to visualize health histories digitally. If you want to stay updated on what we're up to, sign up here for our email list.
If you have ideas, thoughts, or just want to say hi, please contact us! We would love to hear from you.