ER visits due to consumer products: Tableau Public

Tableau Software has just released Tableau Public – a free version of their data visualization tool that will revolutionize how we show information. To showcase its abilities I created the visualization linked below. WARNING: I wanted to push the limits of Tableau – there are 98,000 rows of data shown on the chart, so give it some time to load.

About the data: The NEISS is a database of emergency room visits that involve consumer products collected from 100 hospitals across the country. This is the latest dataset available and covers the entirety of 2008. There were about 370,000 visits in that time frame to these hospitals. As Tableau Public only allows 100,000 rows of data, I used a random function to reduce the dataset.

Using the Visualization: Shown are the 98,000 cases, plotted on the y-axis by age of the patient, and categorized by the type of injury. The lines are colored by body part affected. By default, every product involved is shown. Use the filter on the right to select just a few. For example, deselect “all”, and use the magnifying glass to search for just chain saws, select that product, and allow the chart to update. If you mouse over an individual case, you can see the narrative entered by the hospital about the accident.

The chart provides some information about age spread, and the incidence of a particular type of injury, while still allowing you to look at individual cases. I intend to do a lot more with Tableau and this data set – stay tuned for some dashboards. Click the image to interact with the data.

I’m betting your company has data that you’d like to know more about. Data Driven Consulting specializes in collecting, cleaning, and presenting data just like the example above.


  1. Alex
    Feb 12, 2010

    Some notes about the way the data shows – the data is banded because the age is provided as a whole year, except for younger than 2 years, hence the blocking at the bottom.

    This does mean that multiple cases of the same age and disorder will end up overlaid on top of each other. This isn't as much of an issue when subsets of the data are viewed.

    I wanted to plot the individual visits this tie round because the narrative on each case is revealing and gives a real feeling for the dataset.

  2. James Baker
    Feb 12, 2010

    Several of the many data geeks here inside Tableau have been passing around insights they've found inside this viz. Good stuff!

  3. Alex
    Feb 12, 2010

    James, thank you for releasing this.

    The data is sometimes amusing, sometimes disturbing, always interesting. You'll be glad to know the bulk of the work was getting the data usable, not the learning curve of Tableau.

  4. Anonymous
    Feb 15, 2010

    A 23 year old strained his leg on a fire alarm. More people lacerated themselves on their toilets than I can count. You have opened a window into the american home!

  5. Alex
    Feb 15, 2010

    There are some strange things in there – a lot really don't reflect a failure in the product or method of using it, just general incompetence.

    It would have been nice to see a field expressing whether the injury was as a direct result of the product, but I suppose that would have been too subjective?

  6. Andy
    Feb 17, 2010

    There's some great stuff in there – amazing reasons for injuries.

    Lovely viz, too.

  7. [...] pretty much limited to manually creating it  in Flash. Times are changing. Fast. Even outside of Tableau Public, ManyEyes, and the other great (and often free) web-enabled viz tools, you can now deliver really [...]

Leave a Reply