Battling Anecdote with Analysis using Tableau

Jon Nakamoto, M.D., Ph.D. describes a key challenge of his job as battling the anecdotes and innuendos that fuel his customers' stereotypes about inherent inefficiency. As Managing Director at the Quest Diagnostics Nichols Institute, his successes with Tableau have inspired a sense of trust and partnership with his very demanding customers.

Dr. Nakamoto prefers analysis over anecdote, and true to form much of his presentation involved live storytelling with Tableau! He demonstrated how Quest helps customers identify operational efficiency problems, for example with medical test turnaround-time, whose solutions are often surprisingly simple. Dr. Nakamoto showed how a simple day-of-week view revealed a customer's peak volume each Tuesday for medical test processing, elucidating the need for increased staffing. Exploring a bit deeper, he examined time-of-day for test processing to reveal that much of Tuesday's volume came from sample collection late in the day on Monday, when it could reasonably be pulled in earlier on that day.

Typically within a week of customer meetings they have demonstrated substantial improvements to their processes, and within four weeks they have completed their implementation. Quest's presentations to their customers are a lot like Dr. Nakamoto's presentation today: using Tableau for a live analysis of their data allows immediate answers to questions, fueling decisive and effective meetings.

What is Dr. Nakamoto looking forward to most in the conference? He expects the hands-on training to help break some of his bad habits, or "Tableau ruts", for performing data analysis in Tableau in a rigid fashion as one would with Excel. Tableau's ease of non-linear exploration allows for successively better insight, as each answer prompts new questions and deeper understanding of the data.

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