How do I determine if I should use a graph that displays part-to-whole relationships?
The simplest way to think about part-to-whole data is to determine if what you really are communicating is a ratio. And the best way to think about a ratio is usually as a percentage of something in relationship to the whole.
Consider the bag of Halloween candy. When I was a kid I would dump out my bag, organize the candy by chocolate (good) and non-chocolate (not so good). Depending on the ratio of chocolate to non-chocolate I would declare how successfully the evening had been.
Back on topic — a couple of examples of part-to-whole healthcare data are:
- Payer Mix:
- Commercial Insurance
- Workers Compensation
- Self Pay
- Medication Occurrences by Severity and Cause:
- no injury
- minor injury
- major injury
- permanent functional impairment or death
- incorrect prescription
- dispensing error
- transcription error
- administered incorrectly
Horizontal and vertical bar graphs are the best choices for displaying part-to-whole data. NOT a pie chart.
Click here to read more about displaying part-to-whole healthcare data in my newsletter “Unleash Your Inner Healthcare Data.”