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Posts: 46
Reply with quote  #1 

Recently, I found myself pondering how to visualize a typical health care summary report that reflects metrics of utilization and cost: e.g., admissions per 1000, services per 1000, average length of stay, cost per-member-per-month, cost per service... As far as I can tell, these kinds of data simply fall on a massive spreadsheet of rows and columns, cluttered with counts, percents, and dollar values.

I've come to the conclusion that I haven't really seen this data visualized in a manner that is effective as a summary view (i.e, dashboard). In most instances, a given person can come across specific cross-sections of this data being charted, but it appears to be much more rare to see all of this data visually held together in a single view or as a series of summary views.

So, I've attached a pic of a typical health care utilization/cost grid -- not my creation. To be honest, as familiar as I am with these types of metrics, I'm somewhat at a loss as to how develop a visual summary from this table of numbers.

Anyone care to offer up ideas?


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Name: Inpatient_Admissions_Analysis.jpg, Views: 198, Size: 396.35 KB


Posts: 53
Reply with quote  #2 
Hi, Pete. For the people who need this data, what are the most compelling comparisons to be made? Some obvious candidates:
  • For a given metric/category (e.g., avg length of stay/surgical), compare most recent period vs prior year
  • For a given metric/category, compare actual vs benchmark
  • For a given metric, compare variance from benchmark across all categories
  • For a given metric, compare % change from prior year across all categories
  • For all metrics in the summary, compare % change from prior year
  • For all metrics across all categories, identify extreme variances and changes
Any of these could be graphed, of course, but if you're going to the trouble of making a dashboard the idea is that there are questions that the right display of this data can answer. Is this data enough to trigger some kind of decision or action by the person for whom the dashboard is designed? The answer may well be yes--I don't know--but if you start by defining your audience and their needs the visualization part becomes a bit easier. 


Posts: 69
Reply with quote  #3 
I am thinking of a horizontal bar chart, with the change from 2011 to 2012 floating.  A positive change is one colour and a negative change is a different colour. The size of the bar is the change.  If the % change is important, normalise the 2011 values. Add the benchmark as a red line. 

Alternatively, normalize the benchmarks and make the variance between them and the 2012 values the floating bar. Add the 2011 values as plotted dots. The effect in either case is like a table of bullet graphs. 

Would you be able to attach your table as data rather than an image? I might be able to knock up a sample.
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