Sopan, A., Noh, A., Lee, G., Rosenfeld, P., Karol, S., Shneiderman, B. (May 2010)
Trillions of dollars are spent each year on health care. The Department of Health and Human Services keeps track of a variety of health care indicators across the country, resulting in a large geospatially multivariate data set. Current visualization tools for such data sets make it difficult to make multivariate comparisons and show the geographic distribution of the selected variables at the same time. Community Health Map is a web application that enables users to visualize health care data in multivariate space as well as geospatially. It is designed to aid exploration of this huge data repository and deliver deep insights for policy makers, journalists, and academic researchers. Users can visualize the geospatial distribution of a given variable on an interactive map, and compare two or more variables using charts and tables. By employing dynamic query filters, visualizations can be narrowed down to specific ranges and regions. Our presentation to policy makers and pilot usability evaluation suggest that the Community Health Map provides a comprehensible and powerful interface for policy makers to visualize health care quality, public health outcomes, and access to care in an effort to help them to make informed decisions about improving health care.