Getting the most out of small data in healthcare
Updated March 02, 2016

Getting the most out of small data in healthcare

Jonathan Drummey | TrustRadius Reviewer
Score 10 out of 10
Vetted Review
Verified User

Software Version


Modules Used

  • Tableau Desktop, Tableau Server

Overall Satisfaction with Tableau Server

  • For cases of "tell me something about X" for a data set I've never seen before such as data collected about blood transfusions, Tableau is fantastic at helping to make sense of the data and creating insights.
  • In cases where the data is really messy, even though Tableau does not do full ETL it speeds up the analysis and distribution of analytics process by an order of magnitude or more over Excel, which is a huge win for us.
  • Tableau's ability to aggregate at a variety of levels via table calculations is something that I haven't een done in other BI products (except via a ton of SQL), it makes a number of advanced computations easier for users to accomplish.
  • Tableau's model for filtering and sorting is based on the individual worksheet. Though extensions have been made over time for filtering at the dashboard level, the level of functionality for filtering and sorting at the dashboard level isn't where I'd want it to be.
  • Dashboard layout has definitely improved with version 8.0, and it's not quite the pixel perfect rendering that I want.
QlikView, Tibco Spotfire, SAS, and SAP. At the time, all cost more than Tableau for our (small) needs, SAS and SAP were in some ways overqualified in terms of breadth, and none of them had the ease of use of Tableau.
We are very satisfied with what it has enabled us to do. The only factor in us not having more Tableau licenses has been budgetary constraints as a non-profit.
  • Saving hundreds of person hours in preparing charts & reports.
  • Enabling real-time or near real-time visibility into performance on a wide variety of metrics that have long-term financial impact on hospital & physician practice (for example, the Medicare Value Based Purchasing measures). This enables us to take action now that will affect our Medicare reimbursement a year or more from today.
If you're in an organization that is all about having absolute command and control over the data and how it's used, Tableau may not be for you. Tableau has a commitment to democratizing data and an incredible focus on the user experience that is very much in line with our organizational values and goals. Tableau has made a business tool that is easy to use, incredibly powerful, and delightful to use. Doing exploratory analysis of fresh data with Tableau is like skiing in fresh powder, and Tableau Desktop is my favorite piece of software, ever.

Using Tableau Server

12 - We've got two desktop licenses and 10 server interactor licenses, the reports and dashboards that are produced are then viewed by hundreds of staff via presentations and views posted in the offices and units.
  • Analysis of a variety of data sets and creating analyses across data sets. For example, looking at relationships between staff survey data and outpatient practice patient panels and workloads.
  • Dashboards to inform doctors, nurses, and administrative staff of performance on a variety of quality metrics.
  • Projecting externally generated quality metrics such as Medicare readmission rates, and validating those metrics.

Evaluating Tableau Server and Competitors

Microsoft Excel

Tableau Server Implementation

My department was largely Excel and paper-based when I started, so there's been a tremendous amount of work to get the data into shape, so when I look at the overall implementation of our visualization and reporting infrastructure, I'm less satisfied. Tableau has been wonderful, the one place that would get me to a 10 is if it was easier to tune workbook performance on Tableau Server, there are a huge number of variables to deal with across the workbook/application/hardware stack. In a small environment like ours that takes more effort than I'd like.

Tableau Server Training

Extremely easy to learn, with a wide variety of ways to learn. Tableau has an extensive knowledgebase, there are dozens of hours of training videos, a number of blogs, the Tableau forums are amazing, and there is Tableau Public. Any visualization there can be downloaded and the techniques analyzed.

Tableau Server Support

First, a caveat: I'm someone who reads the manual, watches the videos, opens 20 tabs in my browser from a set of Google searches, and tries everything I can think of before contacting support. When I need Tableau tech support it's either for some newbie question that I missed the boat on (in which case support is awesome) or some deep in the weeds question about an undocumented piece of functionality that I might not be using for its intended purpose. I've sometimes had a hard time getting the first layer of support staff to understand what I'm doing, it seems like their knowledge isn't as solid as I'd like to be, and I chalk that up to Tableau's rapid growth. However, second level support has continued to be excellent.
No - We've been really satisified with the level of support from Tableau and the Tableau user community.

Using Tableau Server

While Tableau has the highest ease of use for analysis, the data set has to be ready for that and Tableau hasn't (yet) brought that ease of use to the ETL process.

Tableau Server Reliability

I use Tableau for one to several hours per day, every day, and it almost never crashes. It's the most reliable piece of production software I've used.
While there are definitely cases where a user can do things that will make a particular worksheet or dashboard run slowly, overall the performance is extremely fast. The user experience of exploratory analysis particularly shines, there's nothing out there with the polish of Tableau.

Upgrading Tableau Server