The Innovation Institute, a medical device incubator based in La Palma, Calif, has introduced a new healthcare application designed to produce simple, graphical representations of complex healthcare processes. VisuFlow is compatible with Microsoft Visio, that company’s flow chart and diagram software. According to the Innovation Institute, the tool could help improve efficiency of patient care delivery.

Developer Vinh Ton conceived the tool while serving as a performance improvement facilitator at St. Joseph Health system in Irvine, Calif. VisuFlow overlays Microsoft Visio’s mapping tools with a collection of healthcare-related shapes, stencils, and templates. These can be used to convey intricate workflow and processes for healthcare workers, providing intuitive visual cues that are easier to process than text.

A sample VisuFlow document used to indicate hospital equipment priority.

A sample VisuFlow chart used to prioritize hospital equipment management. (Click to enlarge)

The shapes represent people, places, and equipment across the healthcare continuum, such as physicians, nurses, clinic buildings, wheelchairs, and gurneys. The documents created can be used to monitor the condition of various equipment, for example, and can be displayed on computers, tablets, and large screens for easy access. Users can customize and configure shapes as needed, linking and “annotating” images with relevant external information. The stencils can be installed and used by all levels of Visio users, the company says.

“Documenting complex processes with text-heavy manuals is inefficient and can lead to error,” Ton said in an announcement. “People can process visual cues 60,000 times faster than text.”

For more information, visit the Innovation Institute website.