When members of the general public are faced with complex decisions, for example a medical situation for an elderly parent, all of the sudden there is a need to learn what a whole lot of new words mean and a compulsion to get up to speed with current research. The relevant words may be entirely new concepts and its hard to know where to start. The spectrum of sources for medical information range from Google to MedLine and on and on depending the users comfort level with exploring advanced research. Members of the general public, and even experts, can face difficulty staying on track to solve only the current problem without wandering down unrelated paths that, while interesting, actually have nothing to do with making an informed decision about the situation at hand.
There are too many facts and opinions to choose from and currently no way to stack conflicting and current points of view against each other in a simple format limited to a specific, narrow context, rather than the context of everything. In a medical situation, understanding all the options for medical reasons is unfortunately only part of the picture, there is also a need to become an instant expert in the swirl of confusion that is the insurance industry, not to mention the information pharmaceutical companies publish for public access. All three industries collide on a regular basis. Simple decisions may be influenced by a large number of conflicting viewpoints that may not care as much about the outcome as much as untrained users trying to learn new terminology to understand the pros and cons. Maybe FLIPP explainers could be used to understand the options, for example, IF hospice care is initiated THEN Medicare benefits will change.
Having access to endless research, benefits, and reports does not make the decision easier or fix things in the real world. Diagrams can help see in overviews to consider what doctors are telling you, compared to what the industry position is, compared to what you can observe yourself to decide what is realistic, what to expect, how you can help. What is needed is something like a holding bin or personal visual dashboard to collect, analyze, and keep only the pieces that matter in your puzzle. For example, Figure 5 from Context Driven Topology drawings shows:
Instead of a curator, scientist, and detective – what if the points of view were brother, brother, and sister? From left to right, one approach is to integrate bits and pieces information into a solid position, another may choose to undertake a comprehensive survey, another may simply be trying to separate fact from fiction. A consensus across all three points of views and ways of making decisions may only intersect at one point. Too bad that point can’t be guided by all the medical, insurance, and pharmaceutical information.
How would such a point be derived? Maybe through Linked Open Data