Need for Interactive Data Visualization in Public Health Practice: Examples from India

K. A. Narayan, M. Siva Durga Prasad Nayak


The world is full of data which is increasing by leaps and bounds. In health care, big data is becoming common with increased electronic health data accumulation and/or accessibility to public data previously held under lock and key. At the same time, health data visualization applications have become popular over recent years. Against this background, a review was done to summarize the application of data visualization in public health & the challenges faced. Peer‑reviewed original research articles and review articles searched in Google Scholar and Pubmed databases that were indexed in the last ten years period, using the keywords “Big data” or “data visualization” or “Interactive visualization techniques.” Other related information in books, blogs, and published documents were searched in Google search engine using the same keywords. Contents from the downloaded documents were presented and discussed under three headings viz. (a) the visualizations that are still current and how they have evolved further, (b) tools or methods that can be used by end‑users to make their own modifications, (c) the platforms to disseminate them. Usage of different plots in public health is explained with suitable examples using the data from public health datasets. From the discussion it can be understood that when big data is visualized well, it can identify implementation gaps and disparities and accelerate implementation strategies to reach the population groups in most need for interventions. As health administrator may come from diverse specialties, robust training and career development for big data in public health is the need of the hour.


Big data; data display; health information systems; public health informatics; visualization

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