Yearly Archives: 2014

2014 Summer Reading List for the Healthcare Data Geek

It’s that time of year again when I go to the beach carrying whatever book I take with me wrapped in a brown paper cover. I imagine that doing so creates an air of mystery, making people wonder, “Is she … Continue reading

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Posted in Books, Newsletters | Leave a comment

What’s an Infographic Anyway?

These days, whenever I deliver a talk or lead a workshop, someone almost always asks, “what’s an ‘infographic’ anyway?” I find this question intriguing in that it reflects what seems a growing awareness of the different ways of communicating healthcare … Continue reading

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Posted in Communicating Data to the Public, Infographics, Newsletters | Leave a comment

Is an Average of Averages Accurate? (Hint: NO!)

Today a client asked me to add an “average of averages” figure to some of his performance reports. I freely admit that a nervous and audible groan escaped my lips as I felt myself at risk of tumbling helplessly into … Continue reading

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Posted in Newsletters, Statistics (is not a dirty word) | 10 Comments

A Histogram and Frequency Polygon Walk Into a Bar…

The other day (which also just happened to be my birthday), I had a complete and utter brain cramp as I searched for the name of what is perhaps the most commonly used graph to display distributions of discrete and … Continue reading

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Posted in Graphs, Newsletters | 1 Comment

Is Knowledge Enough To Inspire Action?

In my last newsletter, I discussed “plain language”– clear, simple writing that people can actually understand and use. I closed with the following statement: “Plain language alone is not enough to get people to use the information you present to … Continue reading

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Posted in Best Practices, Communicating Data to the Public, Etcetera, Newsletters | Leave a comment

Do You Know How To Make It Plain?

Over the past week, I’ve been working (via an ongoing email exchange with my colleague Sandy) on a description in exactly 15 words (no more, no fewer) of the services that our new company, HealthDataViz, offers. We are completing an … Continue reading

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Posted in Best Practices, Communicating Data to the Public, Etcetera, Newsletters | Leave a comment

The Sounds of Colors

About four years ago I discovered the “TED” (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Talks, and got so hooked on them that my family staged an intervention. Had you looked up “mesmerized” in the dictionary back then, you would have found a … Continue reading

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Posted in Newsletters, Using Color | 2 Comments

Hospital Charge Data — More Than Meets the Eye

I have watched with great interest as the U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has made hospital charge data available to the public, and different groups have begun reporting on it. I imagine that many of you share … Continue reading

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Posted in Communicating Data to the Public, Data Analysis, Decision Support, Graphs, Newsletters, Tableau | Leave a comment

Bubble Charts

I am grateful to newsletter reader Meic Goodyear, who was kind enough to share a very interesting project that he and his colleague Brian Coutinho have been working on. Here are Meic’s description of the project and the associated data … Continue reading

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Posted in Communicating Data to the Public, Data Analysis, Design Basics, Graphs, Newsletters | Leave a comment

How to Make a Soda Chart

Here’s an example of a real-world problem. In a deprived inner city borough of the U.K. with the usual range of problems — drugs, gangs, gun and knife crime, alcohol-fueled disorder — we have a multi-agency collaboration to attempt to … Continue reading

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Posted in Editing Charts & Graphs, Excel Tips & Tricks | 2 Comments