The current situation with healthcare organizations is this: They’re gathering a lot of data—and we mean a lot—but much of it is lost in translation. The volume of information can be overwhelming, and facilities end up leveraging only a fraction of it. It’s understandable. Tons of information flows into health systems across different timelines and in different formats, ranging from medical records and departmental data to operational and financial reporting. To successfully develop and execute a strategic plan, healthcare executives desperately need a way to distill and digest all this data.

The solution to the problem of information overload in hospitals is a healthcare dashboard.

Dashboard gives clinicians real-time access to a population view of the wealth of patient data they have collected in their electronic medical records (EMRs), based on recognized provincial indicators, for the first time. Examples of some of the indicators available in the Dashboard include number of diabetics, number of patients taking opioids, number of smokers, those overdue for cancer screening follow-up, etc.

Clinicians can drill down to patient-level data for better patient outcomes, better follow-up care and to identify trends. Other digital health solutions only aggregate patient data centrally for research or population health purposes and cannot drill down to the individual patient.

What about patient-level dashboards?

Healthcare dashboards aren’t as publicly visible as dashboards in other industries because of the need to protect patient information. But that doesn’t mean your healthcare organization should avoid them—quite the opposite. Executives, managers, and clinicians within hospitals and health systems rely on dashboards to provide critical information to inform data-driven decisions, without sacrificing data privacy.

Patient Perception Dashboard captures the patient experience, including satisfaction rates, wait times, ease of stay ratings, etc. It helps organizations identify strengths and weaknesses related to patient services, as well as evaluate performance compared to industry standards. Using tools like surveys to inform patient perception dashboards, healthcare facilities can contextualize and support qualitative feedback. Having this information widely visible to healthcare workings will be a continual reminder of the importance of keeping the patient and families involved in the process of providing care.

How it works

DataUSA

DataUSA, an online public health dashboard created by Deloitte and the MIT MediaLab, visualizes more than 100 key socioeconomic determinants of health, including education and poverty rates, insurance coverage rates and care costs, and housing issues.

Using an interactive map of the United States, the tool provides an instantly accessible way to visualize data from both a high level and a county-by-county perspective. 

City Health Dashboard

Small group of colleagues from NYU and the National Resource Networks have created the City Health Dashboard to pinpoint public health needs down to the neighborhood level.

With data for 500 of the largest US cities in development, the tool also uses geography to let users explore social determinants and health behaviors, including smoking rates, opioid deaths, housing affordability, poverty rates, the built environment, and unemployment levels. City Health Dashboard users can also create custom charts comparing two metrics, such as the availability of preventive health services and the number of residents with poor mental health. 

Health IT Dashboard

The ONC’s Health IT Dashboard is a small catalogue of interactive applications covering EHR adoption, state health IT policies, meaningful use attestation, and interoperability.

While the applications often lag a few years behind due to the scarce availability of current public health data, they provide useful snapshots of key metrics related to achieving the Triple Aim: lower costs, improved population health, and better individual outcomes.

Department of Health Abu Dhabi

Department of Health Abu Dhabi, DoH, has launched the Open Data Dashboards, which have been designed and developed as an online portal which will relay the Emirate’s most up-to-date health statistics in a visual and engaging manner. The new dashboard was launched on the sidelines of DoH’s participation at the Arab Health 2019.

Accessible to members of the public, users will be able to interact with the dashboards in a multitude of ways including interactive filters, which will help users to visualise the data provided over a selected time period in addition to displaying trends and related changes within the Abu Dhabi healthcare system. Moreover, users will be able to compare selected statistics with international benchmarks on the same parameters.

Minneapolis Heart Institute 

With 80 physicians serving a sprawling network of 40 outreach sites across Minnesota, the Minneapolis Heart Institute (MHI), part of Allina Health, faced a daunting challenge: how to deploy its cardiovascular specialists at the right places at the right times to optimize cost, quality of care and patient outcomes.

After expanding its provider team with eight additional advanced care practitioners (ACPs) over a short time frame, Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute, based in Charlotte, N.C., decided to track not just their performance but their impact on the clinical service productivity of physicians they work alongside and on the ability of the practice to grow opportunities for new patient access. Recognizing the impact of wait times on patient satisfaction—one in five patients will switch providers when forced to cool their heels too long in a physician office.

Through the development of some 30 different dashboards that leverage reams of data from more than 75 sources (clinical, cost accounting, payer, patient satisfaction, national registry and benchmark), the healthcare system demonstrated over $50 million in cumulative savings across cardiovascular care from 2013 to 2018. The clinical impact of this vast data enterprise over the past three years is reflected in 3,220 hospital days avoided, 3,330 units of blood saved, 142,194 lab tests avoided, 912 highrisk PCI cases optimized and 1,017 fewer cardiovascular intensive care unit admissions.

AdventHealth

Quality improvement is no longer just a nice-to-have. It's a critical must-do for any health system that hopes to survive in the era of value-based care. But opinions vary widely on the best way to manage data for better outcomes.

As Robert Altemose, RN, clinical operations analytics director at Altamonte Springs, Florida-based AdventHealth (which until this past August was known as Adventist Health System) explains, doing so retrospectively isn't effective – true quality improvement has to be done proactively and in real time. At AdventHealth, for example, "I handpicked metrics that allow clinicians to take action before there is a negative impact to the patient and left anything that was classified as 'good to know' on the cutting room floor," he explained.

And what should be the bigger emphasis in projects such as these? People or technology? Neither can function independently. At AdventHealth, the clinical ROI of real-time data is already showing itself.

Some facts

The worldwide data visualization market was valued at $4.51 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach a value of $7.76 billion by 2023, a compound annual growth rate of 9 percent, according to a report by Mordor Intelligence, a market research firm. The report covers products offered by major players, including solution providers of both visual analytics and reporting tools.

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David Tedford
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