The Power of "Where": Add Maps to Your Agency's Reports

Bars, lines and pie charts are no substitute for a map when it comes to answering the question: where? Adding maps to your arsenal of charts answers questions about location that turns your analysis on its head.

Zeroing in on data at a state, county, city or any other geographic level can help you quickly understand the impact they've had and where to prioritize going forward. In a world of tight budgets, more questions and accelerating timetables immediate access to answers about "where" can help you make informed decisions that will save both your organization's money and time.

Creating maps should be as easy and intuitive as making any other kind of chart. Now it is.

Read this whitepaper to:

  • Learn why maps are important
  • See examples of mapping possibilities
  • Determine how you can start including maps in your reports and dashboards

We've also pulled out the first several pages of the whitepaper for you to read. Download the PDF on the right to read the rest.

Why maps matter

Mapping lets you see the implications of your data in ways not detectable on a standard spreadsheet, linear graph or pie chart. Since we are all familiar with maps, using maps immediately orients your audience to the data. Maps provide context that leads to better ways to prioritize, plan and execute your agency’s mission. Are some states using more resources and benefiting differently than others? Is the West experiencing different levels of flu than the Northeast and are vaccines being distributed appropriately next year? Are student test scores varying significantly in different states? Within states? By county?

Answering these questions becomes fundamentally easier and more accurate when you can see your data on a map.

Three ways maps help you

1. Break the data access logjam by empowering departments to access their own data

For years hospitals and clinics have relied on IT departments to provide answers to data questions, creating a never-ending cycle of long wait times and inflexible results. IT has faced the inverse challenge. They spend dozens of hours churning out reports and responding to requests that often fall short of what the requester wanted to know.

Healthcare providers are turning the tables on this status quo, empowering individuals throughout their organizations to explore data to answer their own questions. Not only is this yielding faster, more insightful actions, it’s letting IT get back to the business of building and maintaining a reliable infrastructure backbone.

2. Uncover answers with data from multiple systems to reveal trends and outliers

The need to do more with less carries extra pressure with healthcare providers because of the priority placed on delivering timely, effective treatments. How to reduce a patient’s time in surgery to accommodate more procedures in a day? Create a supply stocking system to optimize inventory? Determine where to build a new surgical center to maximize revenue? These are complex questions healthcare providers need to answer.

Now empowered to investigate information with intuitive tools, departments throughout healthcare providers are more aggressively exploring data that’s relevant to them. This is true whether the data is in a database, warehouse, spreadsheet or multiple places at once. This means more metrics, more underlying data and more relationships among this information than ever before can be considered to optimize their domains. Departments now proactively investigate patterns in data and work to understand why these exist. They are revealing major “ah-ha” insights that lead to recouping lost payments, changing vendor relationships, or even saving lives.

3. Share insights with executives, doctors and others to drive collaboration

It sounds so simple to “share what you know.” But in practice it’s one of the hardest problems facing healthcare organizations. The tendency is to get caught up in a world of emails, pdfs and slides, all point-in-time attempts to keep one another up to date. It doesn’t have to be that hard. Sharing information and insights with a broad range of stakeholders – from Chief Medical Officers to large departments – can be accomplished securely and effectively right on the web.

Communicating data with interactive visualizations, reports and dashboards in an easy, direct manner has been the ultimate goal for many healthcare providers seeking to implement change in their organization. Whether the target audience is the executive suite, ambulatory care unit or patient community, healthcare providers are now seamlessly sharing insights with a wide range of constituents with secure reports that can be accessed in any web browser.

Make mapping simple

Putting your data on a map should be as straightforward as creating any other chart. You rely on lines to show you trends over time, right? It’s reasonable to expect your charting solution to use geocoding information just as easily– recognizing the entire United States, a county in Nebraska or all the zip codes in Pennsylvania. Incorporating the level of detail you want, such as county borders or city names, should be at your fingertips to add as needed.

Once data is mapped, expect to interact with it to probe further. Size each mark by the number of cases in an area, and color by the rate of cases per capita. Zoom to look at the nuances of a neighborhood of a city. Select a few states to understand trends in a region. Add United States Census data to add a richer dimension to factors that could impact your success.

Want to read more? Download the rest of the whitepaper!

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