An example of a subjective multi-stage survival area graph

Reproduced from Rakow T. Differences in belief about likely outcomes account for differences in doctors' treatment preferences: But what accounts for the differences in belief? Quality in Health Care 2001;10(SUPPL. 1):i44-i49. An area graph may appear as a line graph, as shown here, but the more important information is represented by the area. This graph is a two-way graph, where the Y-axis (vertical) represents the chance of surviving in percentage, and the X-axis (horizontal) represents the time duration. The areas between two curves (lines) represent an extra dimension classifying patients in those who have good or poor heart function and died. The graph requires that the distance between the top and bottom lines enclosing the area to be mentally calculated. It may be misinterpreted by users who may have mistaken the graph as being a line graph, and therefore ignoring the area information. Labelling the different areas or regions of the graph emphasises their importance and could help draw users’ attention to the areas. Although it minimises the miscommunication problem, it does not eliminate it completely.