Applied Health Economics and Health Policy

, Volume 17, Issue 4, pp 433–441 | Cite as

Advanced Data Visualisation in Health Economics and Outcomes Research: Opportunities and Challenges

  • Shelagh M. SzaboEmail author
  • Karissa M. Johnston
  • Andrew J. Lloyd
Practical Application


Data visualisation techniques are valuable tools for exploring, synthesising and communicating the results of research studies. Advanced data visualisation techniques, including dynamic and interactive visualisations, are just beginning to be used in health economics and outcome research (HEOR). In HEOR, there is the potential to use these techniques both to explore methodological challenges that are central to the design and interpretation of the findings of pharmacoeconomic and outcomes research studies, but also to communicate research findings to various stakeholders. In this manuscript, we discuss opportunities and methodological challenges for data visualisation specific to HEOR, describe external barriers that may impact the use of data visualisation methods, and discuss future applications of this technology in HEOR. While there are a number of obvious applications within the data-heavy field of HEOR, caution is required to ensure that visualisations, particularly advanced ones, accurately and fairly reflect the underlying data. However, researchers will benefit from adopting these increasingly sophisticated techniques to help ensure that decisionmakers and other stakeholders can understand, digest and communicate the data—which is critical for achieving the ultimate goal of improving patient outcomes.


Author Contributions

AJL and SMS were primarily responsible for drafting the manuscript, and all authors critically reviewed and edited the content. Participation in development of the visualisations was as follows: Pharmacist model: KMJ. Hodgkin lymphoma visualisation: KMJ, SMS. NMA visualisation: KMJ, SMS. Static Sankey plot: KMJ, SMS. Dynamic Sankey plot: AJL, SMS. Bivariate area chart: KMJ, AJL, SMS.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

SMS: none; KMJ: none; AJL: none.




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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shelagh M. Szabo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Karissa M. Johnston
    • 1
  • Andrew J. Lloyd
    • 2
  1. 1.Broadstreet HEORVancouverCanada
  2. 2.AcasterLloyd ConsultingLondonUK

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