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Can interactive data visualisation help clinicians improve patient care?

  • Run by North East Quality Observatory Service (NEQOS) based at Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust.
  • Aimed to improve the way in which interactive data visualisation is used by clinicians so that it can lead to improvements in quality of care.
  • Explored clinicians’ requirements of data tools and adapted existing data visualisation outputs, creating four interactive dashboards for hip, knee, maternity and mortality.


Interactive data visualisation (DV) tools are increasingly being used by NHS clinicians. These tools can pull together information from multiple data sources and allow the user to choose their graphical outputs. They can be used with real-time operational data to identify how quality of care could be improved. 

However, it is not always clear how useful DV tools are to clinicians or whether they can in fact lead to actionable outcomes. This project by NEQOS explored clinician requirements for engaging with these tools.

NEQOS provides a quality measurement service to NHS organisations across the North East region and beyond. It produces high-quality reports to inform clinicians about areas of health care quality that they might need to address and to help them track improvements over time. This project looked at whether more bespoke DV or other data interfaces may be more in line with clinician requirements.

A literature review was conducted, identifying studies about DV within health care. Following an options appraisal, Tableau software was chosen to produce the interactive DV dashboards. Four dashboards have been produced: hip, knee, maternity and mortality monitoring. These were produced following extensive interaction with clinicians to establish their requirements as the end users.

A series of drop-in events at hospitals in the area took pace, to obtain feedback on the prototype dashboards, and to share lessons with clinicians. A webinar was also held with national bodies to feed back on the project and to further develop the design principles. The design principles are available here and have been disseminated via a webinar and on social media.