New, easier-to-read medical records may soon be on the way thanks to the results of a recent contest held in cooperation with the US Department of Health and Human Services. The Health Design Challenge, which was launched in November by Ben Blumenfeld, garnered over 230 submissions with the goal of improving the visual layout of Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) which are often dense and difficult to decipher.

"These records have data in them that could allow us to improve our health if used correctly."

Nightingale, the winning design by Gravity Tank, is a dashboard-like system — available as both a phone and a web app — that lets users track medications, physical activity, doctor's appointments, and allergies, in a clear, intuitive interface. "These records have data in them that could allow us to improve our health if used correctly," Blumenfeld told Fast Co Design. Other interfaces spotlighted in the Health Design Challenge aim to simplify an individual's medical history for doctors and patients alike, and also make it easier for loved ones to assist in home care.

In the next two months, the contest's curators will combine elements from various submissions to create a final design, which will then be open-sourced on Github for anyone to use or build upon. While there's no confirmation just yet that these designs will be used in hospitals in the near future, the contest's results provide valuable insight into the future of user-friendly medical records that help patients better manage their health.