Austin, TX -- Health Costs USA, an online visualization tool designed by the Austin-based tech company Higher Media, has won a $3,000 award for its efforts to make federal spending on health care easier to understand. Health Costs USA ( http://healthcosts.visualbudget.org/) took second place in the California HealthCare Foundation’s Data Design Challenge, which solicited entries to depict health data in new and inventive ways.
“We are thrilled to have received this award for Health Costs USA from the California HealthCare Foundation” says Neil Halloran, Higher Media’s CEO. “The United States spends more on health care per person than any other nation, and health care costs account for 17% of our economy. Health Costs USA gives the public an interactive data visualization of total spending on health care, including government spending, personal spending and insurance spending.”
Health Costs USA is the latest in Higher Media’s suite of online visualizations that are designed to make complex, dense data beautiful, engaging and interactive. Earlier this year, Higher Media launched a prototype version of VisualBudget.org, a site that makes the U.S. federal budget exciting and easy to understand. The company is still raising funds with the hope of launching a full version in the fall.
“The average person doesn’t understand how the U.S. government spends money, and that’s no surprise, since most discussions about the budget have no visual representations to go along with them,” says Halloran. “As a result, fact-checking the claims of our political leaders on vital issues like health care or military spending is really difficult. Visual Budget and Health Costs USA are engaging intuitive visualizations designed to educate, but also empower people to vet policy proposals that will have a direct impact on their lives.”
Higher Media intends to use the funds to further develop the visualization. A full list of other award winners can be found on California HealthCare Foundation’s website: http://www.chcf.org//rfps/2012/picture-health