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Happy Little Charts: An Artist’s Love for Healthcare IT - Cover

Happy Little Charts: An Artist’s Love for Healthcare IT

Natalie Jamison

Throughout grade school, I knew exactly what I was going to be when I grew up, mostly because I already was one: a famous artist. (In my ten-year-old mind, I already was famous!) This personal expectation continued through high school and even into college.

Little did I know that a “temporary” summer job after college would open my eyes to a passion that would consume the next 11½ years (and counting) of my life. That passion is healthcare IT or, more specifically, making a difference in the lives of thousands through healthcare IT. But how does an artist even fit in at a research company, let alone impact healthcare IT?

“We live in a data-driven world,” said Dona M. Wong in her book The Wall Street Journal Guide to Information Graphics. Data had been a foreign concept to me prior to joining KLAS—an element that belonged in the world of mathematicians and scientists, not artists. Now as a graphic designer at KLAS, I have the opportunity to make a direct impact on the healthcare IT decisions being made throughout the world. The charts and infographics my team and I produce are at the forefront of KLAS reports and are often the first (if not only) pieces of information providers see.

The process of converting raw data into something visual is sometimes quite simple and at other times simply challenging (but those are the best kind). It’s like piecing a puzzle together—taking something like this:

Raw data charts

and transforming it into this:

Cybersecurity infographic - Where is Cybersecurity in Healthcare Today?

(Chart is from the Cybersecurity 2017 report, February 2017)

I have worn many hats at KLAS in the past 11½ years, but none have fueled my passion for what KLAS does more than the marriage of my artistic background and KLAS’ data.

I can help KLAS not only look good, but get accurate, honest, and unbiased data visuals into the hands of providers worldwide. My hope is that those visuals will enable providers to make better-informed healthcare IT decisions in the limited amount of time they often have to do so, and that it will ultimately save lives.

So perhaps I did not become a famous artist like ten-year-old me thought I would. Instead, thanks to KLAS, I became a healthcare IT–loving, provider-advocating, and potentially life-saving graphic artist. I think 10-year-old me would be proud.