I love anything that makes it easier for people to know what’s going on. Case in point: this tweet yesterday from Twitter friend David Grayson @Sasanof, from the IBM Watson Summit in New Zealand.
You can use this to understand enormous sums of money, too:
$1 = one grain of rice
$1000 = cup of rice
$1 million = 8 bags of rice
$1 billion = 3 trailer trucks of rice
$1 trillion = 2 ocean freighters (3,000 truckloads)
$3 trillion (the US healthcare budget) = 6 ships (9,000 truckloads)
When someone says a health improvement project will save (or cost us) $100 million a year, it’s a lot, but think:
- The proposed amount is like 800 bags of rice.
- The US health budget is 9,000 truckloads of rice
Puts it in perspective.
Thanks to @Green_Goddess, Caroline Taylor, CMO of IBM Global Markets, for the visualization, and to @Sasanof for tweeting it. Don’t I love how social media helps ideas spread??
Update next day:
One of my very early blog posts, on my old blog, was on this same subject. March 9, 2009: Comprehending the US healthcare budget. Here are the graphics from that one:
Here’s a million bucks’ worth of $100 bills. (That’s 100 packets of 100 $100 bills; each packet is 1/2″ thick.)
Here’s 100 times as much – a million hundred-dollar bills, $100 million:
Ten of those – a billion:
And a thousand of those – a trillion. Check out the little dude, who’s now in the bottom left corner:
And US healthcare is three times that size.
This helps me, for one, start to comprehend the magnitude of the problem. Something like that does not shrink willingly: lots of people would lose their jobs, including CEOs etc. That’s why I liken US healthcare to “a tumor that doesn’t know how to stop growing and killing its host.”
Go back up and take a look at the size of one million in this picture. Urk.
Thanks Dave – that’s brilliant. Have been following you for years.
e-Patient Dave says
Great to meet you – thanks for piping up!
David Grayson says
Kia ora Dave! Caroline kindly adapted her slide to include the Kiwi context. Hoping we can double dose you with an exabyte experience of NZ soon?!
Great analogy Dave! Thanks for sharing it.
Carla Berg says
Super metaphors! Really drives home the proportions.