Translate Data Into Information

The raw scores on most health care quality measures don’t mean much to the average person. The job of report sponsors is to present scores in a way that makes them engaging, easy to understand, and easy to use. This section discusses what you can do to turn data into information that meets the needs of your audience.

  • Why Good Presentation Matters. Most consumers won’t spend much time looking at a quality report. Your presentation of the information can help keep consumers’ attention and support their understanding of the data.
  • Generating Scores that Show Differences in Performance. Review approaches for developing valid and reliable scores that are fair to providers and easy for people to understand, compare, and use.
  • Describing Measures in User-friendly Ways. Learn how to create labels and definitions that translate medical terminology into plain English, and provide other information to help users understand the importance, validity, and limitations of each measure.
  • Organizing Measures To Reduce Information Overload. Understand how to organize measures and scores into digestible quantities and help people quickly get to the information they want.
  • Choosing a Point of Comparison. Review the advantages and disadvantages of several approaches that aim to make it as easy as possible to identify high and low performers.
  • Displaying the Data. Learn about options for vividly displaying your data, including graphs and tables, legends, symbols, and organizing data into “layers” to help people get the level of detail they want.
  • Taking Advantage of Web Functionalities. Learn how to make your Web-based report easy to search and navigate, and how to help your audience customize their experience of your report so that it meets their needs. (More general guidance on designing quality reports for the Web are available in Tips on Designing a Quality Report.)

Related Topics: Translating data into information involves using clear and simple language to describe the measures and guide users in interpreting the scores. Learn more in Tips on Writing a Quality Report.

Page last reviewed February 2016
Page originally created February 2015
Internet Citation: Translate Data Into Information. Content last reviewed February 2016. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/professionals/quality-patient-safety/talkingquality/create/translate/index.html