Visual Analytics – A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words!

I am currently tinkering with SAS Visual Analytics and am completely blown away by the tool’s capabilities. Intuitive GUI, ability to handle big data and super-fast speed are all remarkable features of the tool but my favourite is hierarchy creation and geo-coding.

Apart from the technical sophistication of the tool I am also intrigued by the way the visuals compelled me to look at the data differently. It forced me to ask questions that otherwise I wouldn’t have. And that I think is my biggest takeaway from the experience.

From healthcare perspective, I think visual analytics can lend a lot of meaningful insights. It can not only give a bird’s eye view of the data at hand but also help you to localise to the finest detail.

Consider the following visual for example –

va             Source: Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation

The picture, which by the way is also interactive, gives an overall snapshot of global obesity trends worldwide. And at the same time one can apply multiple filtering criteria to drill down to a specific geography.

Here’s a link to another paper that highlights how visual analytics can use Electronic Medical Record(EMR) data to optimize care delivery and enhance patient care – http://renci.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/0414WhitePaper-VDL-FINAL1.pdf

So, is a picture worth a thousand words? Certainly.

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