Practicing physicians have limited time for consulting medical knowledge and records. We have previously shown that using icons instead of text to present drug monographs may allow contraindications and adverse effects to be identified more rapidly and more accurately. These findings were based on the use of an iconic language designed for drug knowledge, providing icons for many medical concepts, including diseases, antecedents, drug classes and tests. In this paper, we describe a new project aimed at extending this iconic language, and exploring the possible applications of these icons in medicine. Based on evaluators' comments, focus groups of physicians and opinions of academic, industrial and associative partners, we propose iconic applications related to patient records, for example summarizing patient conditions, searching for specific clinical documents and helping to code structured data. Other applications involve the presentation of clinical practice guidelines and improving the interface of medical search engines. These new applications could use the same iconic language that was designed for drug knowledge, with a few additional items that respect the logic of the language.
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