COMPLEX DATA: CAN YOU VISUALIZE SUCH A THING?

How many times have you created or received presentations with an abundance of bulleted text and endless charts? Although well intended, the main idea and message can get lost in translation—or worse, bore the audience into disengaging.

Fusing visual communication and data can improve message comprehension and impact. The expression “A picture is worth a thousand words” summarizes why it is so important to incorporate visual elements when developing content.

To that end, data visualization graphically represents data and information. It seamlessly blends art and science to increase audience understanding, synthesis, and recall.

Think of data visualization as a skilled translator, converting information into an easily understood picture. Data visualization comes in a wide range of formats, from simple charts and graphs to word clouds and complex dashboards.

As medical storytellers, we aim to understand healthcare professional (HCP) attitudes, mental barriers, pre-existing biases, and the behaviors those things fuel to educate and assist HCPs in addressing patient needs effectively. We develop a medical story focused on addressing these elements with the ultimate goal of affecting HCP behavioral change. Creating and communicating a clear, compelling, and impactful medical story depends on making both the narrative and data easy for the target audience to understand.

Data visualization also enables the audience to digest otherwise indigestible data, with visuals making it easier for your audience to make sense of the information shared instead of wasting precious time deciphering it. When your target audience understands the concepts you have shared, they can remember them more and, ideally, share it with others.

An imperative challenge exists in every project to leverage visual elements to enable faster comprehension and information utilization. Here is an example of a data visualization showing the relationship of popularity of various breeds of dogs that takes a variety of data points and presents them in a clear, approachable way. That is the power of data visualization.

Now imagine the possibilities of applying this power to medical storytelling.

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About the author

Dionne Maffett-Corbin

Dionne has more than 18 years of experience in the healthcare industry, 16 of which she spent leading market research, analytics and marketing innovation at large pharma companies.

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