Visualizing Laboratory Data: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (Half Day)

Sunday, July 28, 2024
1:30 PM – 4:30 PM US Central Time
McCormick Place Chicago


As our field embraces 'Data-Driven' as a norm, adapting to this evolution is pivotal for running a modern clinical laboratory. Data visualization is the key to formulating hypotheses, deriving insights, and conveying results. Yet, most lack the formal training needed to master this crucial skill. This course dives into best practices, unveiling high-quality visualizations for our common data types. We'll spotlight pitfalls to avoid, ensuring your figures are both impactful and accurate. Interactive lectures will showcase the spectrum—from exemplary to misleading visuals. Join us to equip yourself with the essential skills for the new era of data-driven laboratory management.

Target Audience

This activity is designed for physicians, advanced practice professionals (NPs, PAs, RNs, etc.), lab supervisors, lab directors (and/or assistant directors), lab managers (supervisory and/or non-supervisory), pathologists, toxicologists, and in-training individuals.

Prerequisite Knowledge 

No prerequisite knowledge required but participants are encouraged to come with enthusiasm!

What to Bring

A laptop with charger; your own data set for plotting exercises (optional).

Learning Objectives

  • Highlight best practices and common pitfalls in creating effective data visualizations.
  • Summarize key strategies and useful tools for capturing information from geospatial data.
  • Provide resources for assessing the accessibility and inclusivity of graphic design choices.


Dustin Bunch, BA, PhD, DABCC | Nationwide Children's Hospital

Nicholas Spies, MD | University of Utah, ARUP Laboratories

Vahid Azimi, MD | Washington University in St. Louis

Course Outline

  1. Communicating Laboratory Data Through Effective Visualizations (45 mins.)
    This presentation will introduce common, but imperfect types of data visualizations, and describe the downfalls of each, as well as useful alternatives. In addition, this session will dive deeper into the design principles that drive clear and effective communication and cover the effective use of font, size, color, and more. The activity for this session will be an audience response poll which will start with a sub-optimal visualization and make incremental improvements to it using each of the aspects from the lecture.

  2. Capturing Geospatial Data: Tools and Techniques for Visualizing Laboratory Data Beyond the Walls of the Core Laboratory  (45 mins.)
    This presentation will branch out into geospatial data and demonstrate the powerful tools at one’s disposal for putting our data into the context of the world around us. It will highlight what these data formats are, where to find such data, and how to avoid common pitfalls. The activity for this section will be to guide attendees through a common geospatial data set.

  3. Crafting Compelling Stories With Data: Best Practices in Presentation and Dashboard Design (45 mins.)
    This presentation will focus on visualizations of presentations and dashboards to improve understanding and readability. It will continue with the design concepts demonstrated in the first talk and extend these concepts to multi-figure layouts used for presentations and dashboards.