Data visualizations need to present conclusions rather than artistic masterpieces

A key component to success is effectively representing your analytic insights. Make sure your graphics present conclusions and suggest actions for users to take.

Reference: Data visualizations need to present conclusions rather than artistic masterpieces

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Incredibly Lifelike Wood Sculptures by Bruno Walpoth

Bruno Walpoth is an Italian sculptor from Bressanone-Brixen in South Tyrol, Italy. The talented woodcarver was recognized early in life for his artistic talents, beginning a five-year apprenticeship to master carver Vicenzo Mussner at the age of 14. At 19, he began a six-year course of study with Hans Ladmer at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste in Munich, Germany, which Walpoth describes as crucial years in his career.

To learn more about the artist, there’s a great interview on the Sculpture Review. You can also see much more of his incredible artwork on his official website walpoth.com, where you will also find upcoming exhibitions and a list of galleries representing his work.

Reference: Incredibly Lifelike Wood Sculptures by Bruno Walpoth

Two Different Health Care Experiments in the US

Today, Dallas Morning News (DMN) has two independent articles interestingly echo each other about health care experiments in the US.

The first article is in DMN’s Business section, “Hospital seek cure for unpaid bills” written by Jim Landers; the second article is in its main section, “Unlikely allies: Obama, insurers” written by Robert Pear of the New York Times.

When US federal government offered subsidized health care to citizens under the Affordable Care Act, the State of Texas decided not to participate to avoid the big government. The 2013 data show that Texas health care system suffers a total of more than a billion dollars each year on unpaid bill, and, as a result, an average family insurance policy costs $1,800 a year more in Texas, whereas families under the Affordable Care Act experience minor increase this year. Different public policies result in quite dramatic difference in health care finance and public health.

Here are some paragraphs in “Hospital seek cure for unpaid bills“.

… Expanding Medicaid may be anathema to Texas political leaders. For hospitals, though, it would be a godsend. Baylor University Medical Center lost $172.8 million on uncompensated care last year. Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas reported uncompensated care of $86.5 million. Methodist Dallas Medical Center reported $154.7 million. And Parkland Health and Hospital System reported $1.488 billion of uncompensated care.

… The Texas Hospital Association is trying to remedy that, at least in part. It wants to coax Governor-elect Greg Abbott and the Legislature to use federal funds available through the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid with a private insurance model.

… The cost of covering the uninsured now falls on insured Texans, as hospitals and physicians shift the burden to cover costs. As a result, an average family insurance policy costs $1,800 a year more in the state.

Here are some paragraphs in “Unlikely allies: Obama, insurers“.

… Those same insurers have long viewed government as an unreliable business partner that imposed taxes, fees and countless regulations and had the power to cut payment rates and cap profit margins. But since the Affordable Care Act was enacted in 2010, the relationship between the Obama administration and insurers has evolved into a powerful, mutually beneficial partnership that has been a boon to the nation’s largest private health plans and led to a profitable surge in their Medicaid enrollment.

… Now insurers say government business is growing much faster than the market for commercial employer-sponsored coverage. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 170 million people will have coverage through Medicare, Medicaid and the insurance exchanges by 2023, an increase of about 50 percent from 2013. By contrast, the number of people with employer-based coverage is expected to rise just 2 percent, to 159 million. … Medicaid enrollment is up more than 8 million, or 15 percent, in the last year.

… One insurer, Humana, derives about 65 percent of its revenue from its Medicare Advantage plans. Enrollment in these plans climbed 17.5 percent, to 2.9 million, in the year that ended Sept. 30, the company said.

… At UnitedHealth Group, Medicaid and Medicare Advantage together are expected to provide more than $60 billion in revenue, or slightly less than half of the company’s total, this year. United expects to participate in insurance exchanges in 23 states next year, up from four this year.

Information is Beautiful Awards 2014 – The Results Are In

Check out the winners of 2014 Information is Beautiful Awards.

Reference: Information is Beautiful Awards 2014 – The Results Are In

Doubting the Economic Data? Consider the Source

Human interpretation of Business Intelligence (BI) is a tricky art. The enclosed article from the New York Times provides a vivid example of how data can be interpreted wrong, if not careful. Not like most BI software companies are advertising, there is no “magic BI pill” to let BI software to figure out everything by itself automatically. People cannot just pour in data, numbers, or even database into a so called Data Warehouse Appliance, or Big Data, and expect a genius to come out to tell you about your future. Proper human judgement is required to verify data source, define the logic, and take actions to have a successful BI.

Reference: Doubting the Economic Data? Consider the Source