Revolutionize Your Data: The ABCs of Data Visualization Concepts

The modern medical practice is technology and data driven. Clinical data, research and quality improvement data, and various technological tools influence the decisions that clinicians make in their daily practice. The platform and presentation of data influence the speed at which the brain processes the information and ultimately determines knowledge retention. As the medical field undergoes a revolution in healthcare processes, technology, pharmaceuticals, and clinical practices, data presentation should become revolutionized to ensure that knowledge retention is optimized.

The learning styles of the healthcare providers will determine the appropriateness of a data presentation tool. Therefore, it is important for healthcare organizations to work with continuing medical education (CME) providers who can reach the right audience. Data visualization is key to reaching the appropriate audience because it determines the effectiveness of knowledge retention and outcomes.

Presentation of CME data should be revolutionized to ensure that healthcare providers can keep up with the changes. We present a review of the basics of data visualization concepts to reveal the strategies that will enhance the ability of clinicians to keep up with the data-driven, fast-paced healthcare climate.

The Research

A University of Minnesota and 3M Corporation research report examining the function of visual presentation in persuasion revealed that visual aids improve the delivery of information during a presentation. The researchers examined the influence that  several computer-generated visual effects had on the effectiveness of persuasion during a presentation. They compared persuasion using several aspects of visual support, such as black and white versus color, 35-mm slides versus overhead transparent slides, and text with graphs and pictures versus plain text presentations with no visual support.  They found that using data visualization through visual aids during presentations was 43% more effective in persuading the seminar attendees than the presentations without visual aids. This indicates that CME seminars would be more effective with data visualization.

Furthermore, they identified the effects of data visualization on different elements of persuasion such as understanding, attention, agreement with the presenter, and retention. They found that data visualization using visual support had a direct and major effect on the way the presenter was perceived. However, its effects on retention and comprehension were not as impactful.

In addition, the results showed that the use of visual support influenced the decision of the seminar attendees. Attendees of the presentation with no visual support planned to invest an equal amount of financial resources on the presentation and less time on the seminars, whereas those who attended seminars with visual support planned to spend more financial resources and time on the seminars. The intention to commit more money and time to presentations with visual support illustrates the effect of data visualization on commitment to education.

The Case for Data Visualization

Data visualization should be an integral part of CME to get the best out of the processing features of the human brain. Human beings have an 8-second attention span, so it is critical that CME providers utilize tools that present large volumes of data effectively and efficiently. Furthermore, the image processing speed of humans is 60,000 times more than that of text. The low attention span of humans and the fast processing speed of images provide the basis for integration of data visualization concepts in CME tools.

Technological tools enable users to integrate data visualization strategies with text to enhance memory retention and to accommodate the attention span of learners. The narrative in outcomes reporting can be presented in an efficient and effective manner using data visualization concepts, such as superior rate of data processing for images. Your audience will prefer integrated visual support in presentations to pure text because, as stated, the human brain processing speed for images is 60,000 times faster than that for text.

Data Visualization Strategies

The main concepts in data visualization include utilization of white space and color, graphical presentation of data, concise and visually appealing infographics, and inclusion of colors, charts, and symbols in the narrative. You can use strategies such as the deliberate use of color, strategic placement of space, and the deliberate use of pictures to improve data comprehension for your audience. By using them appropriately, you can highlight sections of analytic data and improve your audience’s understanding of the data. Furthermore, inserted infographics are processed at a much faster rate than text, and through use of images and pictures in analytic data you can enhance the learner’s ability to process large volumes of data in an efficient and effective manner.

Color is an important visualization tool for enhancing data in presentations. Color enhances understanding and retention of data in several ways, such as emphasizing the highlights in a presentation, directing the audience’s focus, creating a brand for recognition, and reporting data from evaluation, analysis, and outcomes. Your audience will appreciate color effects that make it easy for them to retain information.

Enhanced knowledge retention from data visualization translates to improvements in patient outcomes through enhanced knowledge utilized in the identification and management of adverse events. Data visualization improves learning by enhanced long-term memory retention, faster transmission of messages, improved comprehension, stimulation of emotional connections, and motivation. However, inappropriate use of visual tools in education can daunt learners.

Learners in CME courses must retain large volumes of data within the short duration of the presentations. Integration of data visualization concepts into presentations promotes effective and efficient knowledge retention and enables learners to process information at higher speeds than they would with data that do not contain images. Revolutionizing information with color, space, and infographics will help your audience retain more information during CME courses. Find out how to create great data visuals to better engage and educate your audience by downloading this poster with evidence-based directions.