Data Visualization in Health Care Seminar

Understanding how to clearly present data is an indispensable skill for today’s medical professionals. On June 19, AmCham Taipei’s Pharmaceuticals & Public Health Joint Committee was grateful to host Ms. Katia Santome, Solution Designer of Z&A Knowledge Solutions for a seminar workshop on transforming complicated medical information into simple, clear, and valuable insight.

With attendees representing various firms from across Taiwan, participants learned to structure and visualize information using a step-by-step ideation process.

Ms. Katia Santome, an expert on information design and data visualization, encouraged participants to think about the broader message behind the data that we are intending to share. “This allows for greater intentionality around the visual we create, helping us to be both consistent and clear with our message,” she said. After deciding on a concrete idea, the presenter should focus on which details to share. This allows for intentional categorizing of ideas, which will help to make the information presented easier to understand. Thirdly, it is important to arrange key details by time, quantity, category or preference, so that the audience can convey concepts in a more simplistic way. Finally, Ms. Santome encouraged participants to focus on the structure of the data that will best demonstrate the relationship between the details. For example, while maps, charts, diagrams, or tables can convey the exact same information, these different data structures give the presentation a completely different feel.

Especially in the medical industry, professionals are tasked with condensing extremely complex and nuanced information into easily digestible concepts for presentation to students and patients alike. Ms. Santome guided participants through group discussions regarding how to make information more accessible and digestible. “Using simple processes, we can successfully condense difficult ideas into easy to understand visuals,” she noted. Ms. Santome left attendees with the following take-home messages:

  • Structure your thoughts: Make sure to get your thoughts and ideas on paper before you begin creating a visualization. Not only will this give your message consistency, but it will help save time when using digital software to create visuals.
  • Remove noise: By using icons, images, and other visual guides instead of text, participants learned how to cut down extraneous information in order to hone readers’ attention on the details that really matter. Removing text, grid-lines, and emphasizing key elements are all great ways to improve the clarity of one’s message.
  • Be creative: Only by thinking outside of the box can we fully re-structure information in meaningful ways for our audience. Using color and animation can truly elevate a presentation, making even the most complicated statistics accessible to everyone.

“Make sure you think through your ideas before you start!” Santome encouraged the audience. “Otherwise, your presentation will appear messy and inconsistent. It’s best to be intentional about how you use data visualizations”.

Feedback on the workshop was overwhelmingly positive. “This was the most practical workshop in the medical field I have attended in my entire life,” commented one participant upon the workshop’s conclusion. “The takeaways are extremely applicable — I learned so much in such a short space of time!”

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