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Visualize Trends with Power View Motion Scatter Charts


When visualizing data, multiple measures and attributes can often be difficult to display in a manner that is both useful and easily consumed.  Power View for SQL Server 2012 can be used to create motion scatter charts that display multiple measures, attributes, and trends in a manner that exudes simplicity.

For this example, sample demo data will be used from GNet Group’s SightN2 for Healthcare solution.  The challenge addressed is as follows: How can Total Visits, Mortality Rate, Average Length of Stay, Gender, and Age Group for hospitalized patients be displayed on one chart with filters?  Such a combination can be difficult to effectively visualize in a traditional Excel PivotChart:

Even with Visits on the second axis of the chart, the Average Length of Stay (LOS AVG) values dwarf the percentage value of Mortality Rate and render the visualization of those lines useless.  Even if there were a third axis option, the Gender attribute would create a chart of numerous, tangled lines that cannot be easily consumed by report consumers.

Power View motion scatter charts offer more than x and y axis placements on a chart.  In addition to the x and y axis there is bubble size, bubble color, and a “Play” axis that allows for trends of values on a chart to be viewed over time.  Similar charts were featured in a TED presentation a few years ago by Hans Rosling.  The demo data measures and attributes from above can be placed on a Power View motion scatter chart as follows:

  1. x axis: Visits
  2. y axis: Mortality Rate
  3. Size: LOS AVG
  4. Details: Gender
  5. Play Axis: Age Group
  6. Filter: DRG Descriptions

Once in a Power View motion scatter chart filtered by DRG filters for Respiratory Infections and Inflammation with and without Critical Care, all of these values and attributes can still be readily consumed by report users:

The “Play Axis” at the bottom can then allow the motion of the location and size of chart bubbles to visualize trends.  As patient “Age Groups” get progressively older, Mortality Rate increases:

Clicking on the bubble for “Female” can then show all of the values of the trend for that particular attribute:

Power View motion scatter charts aren’t just a flashy new tool, but genuinely offer a new means by which to visualize stories within a data model.  Depth and complexity that in the past may have required numerous charts can now be achieved with the simplicity of a single chart.

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