Tableau is "the people's champion."
Tableau: What were the data needs of people at DRG?
Brigham: Having analysts in the healthcare space that are extremely quantitative, the things that they focused on were: having the capability to do the high-end analyses they wanted to do, the analytical models, the statistical packages, but also being able to experiment with data.
Tableau: And how would describe the impact of Tableau?
Brigham: The impact that Tableau has had on the health industry, I would say to date, it has started to take us out of the Stone Age. Healthcare suffers from different data challenges than other big data areas: siloed data kept separate, historically and by regulation—and now needing to blend and combine data sources and solve complex problems. The ability to get rapid prototypes, test hypotheses, and explore data is almost as critical as the ultimate analysis.
We spend a lot of time focusing on predicting how disease treatment will be carried out, and whether or not a drug is going to work.
Tableau enabled me to do things that turned that power over to the user. So focusing on your assumptions and the quality of those in the medical sphere as opposed to just the numbers, and spending your time on those key details as opposed to working with the data ad nauseam is a much better use of time.
Tableau: How does Tableau compare to other programs and tools?
Brigham: I think a lot of database tools really lack that play factor, which is where a lot of great ideas come from. That and the user experience being very click and drop and modern gave it advantages not only over the way we were doing things, but over other BI tools that we tried.
Tableau: Did Tableau spread within the company?
Brigham: Something we saw organically having multiple BI tools, no matter what we tried to make them do, they migrated to Tableau, and you've got to listen to the people.
Tableau: What makes Tableau so person-friendly?
Brigham: I think the reason that Tableau is the people's champion if you will, is that you get an easy win right away. Everybody can make a dashboard in the first 30 minutes, without having to know complex database technology or without having to know completely the data inside and out from a domain perspective. So there's a rewarding feeling of making your first dashboard.
And I think after that, the reason it sticks is that the transparency of the tool lets people explore things and learn on their own. So to a certain level there's not much training that's required, people teach themselves, and I think those two things make it really satisfying to use.
Tableau: Was communicating with clients a factor too?
Brigham: Yes. Being experts in the healthcare arena but having to use advanced modeling techniques through Excel and other database programs, we sought a better way to communicate our results to our clients.