Tableau for Health Services

When public health is on the line, accuracy and precision are top of mind.

Wed Nov 13 13:16:00 EST 2019

Planning and providing healthcare services is complex. With access to facilities, response times, and the needs of a diverse population all factoring in, deciding where to open a new location or offer a new service is an immense task.

When the need arises for a particular location or service, data can help bring everything together to provide a clear answer. Combined with business intelligence visualizations like those in this Tableau viz, the process becomes much simpler.

Imagine you work for a medical provider who needs to open a new care center in an underserved area.  There are limited centers providing kidney disease treatment within the state of Vermont and public health statistics indicate the community’s need overwhelms the resources of these existing facilities. You know you need to open a new one, but the question is where will this new facility have the most impact?

To understand where a new facility should open, you need to understand where your current patients live in relation to your existing facility. You have a list of patient addresses, but need to visualize them on a map. Once you’ve geocoded your existing patient locations you can see how far some of them travel to reach your current facility. This not only makes it difficult for them to access life-saving treatments, but can also add financial stress to patients. Transportation to and from the treatment center can be expensive and time consuming.  Your new location should keep that in mind to make sure you provide the most convenient and helpful facility possible for your patients.

The current facility near Hinesburg cares for patients from across northern Vermont, including the Burlington, Waterbury, and Waitsfield areas, up to 30 miles away. Your research shows the most a patient should travel to receive treatment is 5 miles.

While there is a large concentration of patients nearby the current facility, there are many traveling from much further away – definitely outside of that 5 mile radius.

Now that you see where your patient population lives and how far they travel for treatment, you can better decide where a new facility should be opened. Your existing patients will benefit from a new facility opening closer to them, but so will future patients currently not receiving treatment at your facility.

So how do you choose from the various locations a new facility could open in? By pulling in demographic information you can see important factors like age, gender, and health insurance coverage which can help you make profiles for each potential new location. With spatial information, you can visualize where the local population lives and how a new care facility would impact them.

Combining this data into a Tableau dashboard, you make it possible to click different points on the map and see how that location for a new facility would serve the surrounding population.

Based on the population profiles you put together and your analysis of your current facility’s reach, you decide to analyze a new location in Stowe, VT.  When you pull in the population data, you can see this area has the highest number of households outside of the areas already well-served by your existing facility.  It is also closer than your current facility to other areas you were considering, so while it isn’t directly in those towns it would still benefit those populations by giving them a closer alternative.

These are complicated questions but Tableau-ready data makes them easy to solve. Visit us in Booth 631 at #data19 to learn more.

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