Popular television medical dramas and its sensationalism make medicine and hospitals more approachable. Hit series like House turn complicated ailments and procedures into comprehensible demonstrations. Yet, many viewers feel overwhelmed with medical terms and unfamiliar procedures.
Healthwave, a Korean startup founded in 2011, offers a solution to this problem with HiChart. Hi-Chart is a program that makes complex medical terms and processes digestible via visualizations through diagrams and videos.
Surgical and medical information through images
Healthwave’s CEO Heedu Jung began developing the idea for HiChart during his residency. Often encountering patients who could not understand his explanations for simple processes and operations, Jung got the idea of employing his art education. Using drawings, he demonstrated the mechanics of procedures to patients.
“I used to make serialized cartoons when I was in university, so it was quite easy to explain things to patients using drawings. Visual illustrations are easier to consume and the simplicity helps clear up anxiety,” stated Jung. “HiChart’s ultimate goal is to provide patients with professional knowledge using comprehensive videos.”
Providing information through new mediums
Starting in 2003, Jung began the prototype for HiChart by storing animations explaining diseases, inspections, and operations on CD.
“With the compact discs I ran into two problems,” admitted Jung. “First, patients were not able to access information that doctors thought were labeled simply enough. And second, the discs were available in limited supply and could not be presented to patients effectively.”
To resolve these issues, Jung searched for electronic delivery solutions. In 2005, he thought of a way for patients to search and email videos to themselves. With the advancement of the smartphone, the capability of sending videos to and viewing them directly from smartphones emerged.
“Initially, the notion of streaming videos online was bizarre. Now, even senior citizens can access online videos with ease.”
Data shows increases in patient comprehension
HiChart has undergone a great number of changes over the course of the last ten years. Statistics show that patients and legal guardians have become more significantly informed of their medical decisions and are less ignorant of their consequences.
Johns Hopkins University Hospital intends to pilot Healthwave’s animation model in its medical procedures come the New Year. Esteemed hospitals in Japan, Singapore, and Malaysia are also participating in the pilot project.
‘HealthBreeze’ promises further innovation
Jung promises to further HiChart’s capabilities with additional features on its upcoming app, HealthBreeze. The app is scheduled for release later this month.
“The main attraction of this app will be the messenger feature. The notion of communicating with our healthcare providers via text may seem rather peculiar [in Korea], but successes demonstrated by our American counterpart, mHealth, suggest that HealthBreeze holds great promise. This will allow patients to inform their doctors of their health statuses following treatment and to address any problems.”
HiChart and HealthBreeze are steps into a new direction that ensures higher quality of medical treatment.