One area of interest in healthcare data is plastic surgery, and the trends that appear in the operations that individuals are choosing to have done. In order to explore more about this phenomenon, the Guardian Datastore has provided an excellent set of data which has been used here as a basis for further analysis, and the display was created using Microsoft Office PerformancePoint and SQL Server.
As the examples show, sometimes it’s not enough just to have a set of numbers; illustrating the numbers with graphs can highlight patterns to the data consumer that weren’t previously visible.
In order to display some of the capabilities of Performance Point, the plastic surgery data was used here in order to create graphs and dashboards using Microsoft SQL Server as a data source. The data was obtained from the Guardian Datastore has a comma-separated values document, or CSV. This was easily imported into a table in SQL Server using a straightforward wizard. The ‘presentation layer’ was Performance Point, which is part of the Office SharePoint suite of products. Performance Point Services is integrated into Sharepoint, and can take in a variety of data sources, including Excel, standard ODBC connections, SQL Server database sources. It is particularly good with Analysis Services cubes since this allows drill-down and click-through to display data in dashboards, graphs, or even ‘traffic light’ indicators. Performance Point aids analysis by allowing the user a lot of control over the appearance of the graphs, and, as is usual for Microsoft, there are lots of different ways to do the same thing. Whatever is easiest for the user, really! If you would like to know more about how everything hangs together, please see the PerformancePoint Services blog site here for a downloadable Visio or PDF diagram for easy reading.
As a sample, there is a PerformancePoint dashboard below, or click here for the large image:
Overall, the dashboard shows that plastic surgery is a growing area of healthcare, with increases shown in almost every type of surgery except the bottom two: facelifts and abdominoplasty (tummy tucks). In addition to an overall increase in the plastic surgery requested, the type of plastic surgery requested has changed from 2008 to 2009. For example, there has been an over 40% increase in brow lifts, and a quarter rise in rhinoplasty or ‘nose jobs’. However, perhaps surprisingly, the ‘tummy tuck’ operation has shown a nearly 10% drop in operations performed. This is highlighted by the following excerpt of the above graph, or click here for an enlarged version:
There is obviously still a difference in the types of surgery requested by males and females, and this can be seen from the graph below. For example, in females, breast augmentation was a popular choice, whilst the data shows that only 28 males have undergone breast augmentation surgery in 2009. The only choice nearing a 50-50 split was otoplasty, which is an operation to correct ear shape or size. This can be seen from the bottom half of the dashboard, which is reproduced here for ease of use:
One interesting find is that male cosmetic surgery is on the increase; in fact, it increased by 21% in the last year. In particular, the Guardian reports that plastic surgery operations to reduce breast size in men (gynecomastia) have nearly doubled in the last year, and the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPs) found that operations to correct gynecomastia in men grew by 80% overall over the past 5 years.
To summarise, there are plenty of ways of visualising the nuggets of data held in data sources, and the Microsoft stack allows plenty of different SQL Server based ways for storing and visualising data in accordance with user requirements.