Background: The Brazilian health system is a large and complex system, especially considering its mixed public and private funding. The number of syphilis cases has been increasing greatly in the last four years, even though it has a cheap and simple treatment. Syphilis notification is compulsory by law, and public health surveillance pays great importance to syphilis notification during pregnancy. Syphilis infection can cause severe newborn conditions, premature births, and abortions.
Methods: The Action Research methodology was applied to deal with the complex syphilis surveillance reality in Pernambuco, Brazil. Iterative learning cycles were used, totalling six cycles with a formal validation of an operational version of the Syphilis Trigram visualisation at the end of the process. The original data source was analysed and prepared for use without any new data or changes in the ordinary procedure of the current system.
Results: The main result of this study is the Syphilis Trigram, a domain-specific infographic for presenting gestational and birth data. The second contribution of this study is the Average Trigram, an organised pie chart which synthesises the Syphilis Trigram relationship in an aggregated manner. Both visualisations are presented in an Infographic User Interface, a tool that gathers an infographic broad visualisation sense for data visualisation. These interfaces also gather selection and filter tools to assist and refine the presented information. The user can experience a specific case-by-case view and an aggregated perspective by any city monitored by the system.
Conclusions: The proposed domain-specific visualisation amplifies the understanding of each syphilis case and the overall case characteristics of a city. This new information produced by the Trigram can clarify the reinfection/relapse cases, optimise resource allocation, and enhance syphilis healthcare policies without any new data. Therefore, health surveillance professionals can see the broad tendency, understand the key patterns through visualisation, and take action in a feasible time.