Being seen, feeling heard: Reflections from working with patients to visualize their health

I’ve spent the last six months starting Pictal Health, a company to help patients tell their health stories visually. During this time I’ve been piloting a service that includes a few steps: talking and listening to patients and getting their full story, preparing visuals based on what I heard (usually a timeline and sometimes a symptom diagram on a body shape,) and helping them feel prepared for their next doctor appointment.

Although I have a big vision for where Pictal Health could go and how it could reach many people, right now I’m taking it slow, focusing on learning from each person I work with. I’m still doing this work manually, prepping visuals by hand. Here is an anonymous example from someone who gave me permission to share:

Screenshot 2018-09-04 10.53.25.png

Yep there’s a lot going on there, and right now this work is fairly time-consuming. But it’s important. While my current process is not “scalable” from a business standpoint, I’m learning valuable insights — and gaining wisdom— that will help me move forward with confidence and sensitivity. I want to share a few key things I’ve been learning.

Katie McCurdy