The Dashboard Spy

July 19, 2006

Health Care Clinical Quality and Safety Dashboard – Using enterprise dashboards for hospital performance improvement

Filed under: Dashboard Screenshots — Tags: — dashboardspy @ 4:12 am

By special request from a Dashboard Spy reader interested in using enterprise dashboards in the area of Health Care Clinical Performance Improvements, we present these screenshots from Methodist Medical Center of Illinois, a 330-bed hospital in Peoria. This organization was an early adopter of data dashboards. See this great article on how Methodist’s IT team started developing and implementing data dashboards in 2003, using dashboards to track and improve all dimensions of performance organizationwide, including market breadth and penetration, customer service/patient satisfaction, employee satisfaction, clinical quality and safety, and financial results. Board members, senior executives and physician leaders, service line directors, department or unit managers, and front-line staff review specific data dashboards regularly.

Here is the process improvement process used at the hospital:

Performance Improvement Process

The statement of the formal goals and establishment of the above process was key to the Performance Improvement program. As the article states:

Michael Bryant became Methodist’s CEO in 2000, and he raised the performance bar by setting a goal of being in the top 5% of every performance area. To achieve that goal, it was clear that communication of the goal and the status at the indicator level was a must. Methodist achieved that communication by using a simple stoplight color scheme, which provides clarity for all Methodist dashboards. “Green” indicates excellent work that should be maintained; “yellow” signifies a need for focus because performance is starting to lag; and “red” is an alert, indicating an immediate need for intervention and improvement. “We use these stoplight colors for every dashboard, whether measuring admissions, employee turnover, patient satisfaction, falls, or operating margin,” says Duvendack.

To ensure reliability and validity of data collection and analysis, dashboards should have rules that govern their development and implementation. “Behind the scene of any data dashboard is a strict set of definitions for indicator numerators and denominators, how measures are calculated, inclusion/exclusion criteria, and other parameters,” says Duvendack. “Consistency of dashboard construction and indicator calculations is critical, so a limited number of trained individuals at Methodist are responsible for working with the data that populate the clinical dashboards.”

In addition, because timeliness of the data is critical to effective response, rapid turnover of charts for abstraction is required. Clinical abstracters at Methodist review charts as soon as possible, generally no more than a few weeks after a patient is discharged. “In order to provide meaningful input to quality improvement efforts, the data cannot lag too far behind the care received,” says Duvendack. Data from chart abstraction are entered into the database. The PI department disseminates the dashboards weekly.

These are the bi-weekly hospital-wide dashboards used to enable the performance improvements in the hospital. I apologize for the low quality of the dashboard screenshots. This is the data the Heart Failure Care team uses. The PI staff releases unit-based disease-specific dashboards weekly. Front-line staff and all members of the disease-specific teams in the appropriate clinical units receive the dashboards via e-mail and other means. “We distribute report copies at team meetings and post the dashboards on PI boards, in bathrooms, and every other venue we can use to get the word out. Staff is very familiar with the dashboards,” says Duvendack.

data dashboard

This is the unit specific dashboard. Service line directors, physician partners, and core teams review the reports during weekly meetings, and teams identify “outlier” indicators that require focus. Weekly dashboards may not include all the cases because data are added on a “rolling forward” basis, but by the end of the month, all cases are included in the monthly report

Data Dashboards

Homework: For background on this please look at these books on clinical improvement. And if you are on an enterprise dashboard project, do yourself a favor and take a look at Enterprise Dashboards: Design and Best Practices for IT, the only book on actually implementing enterprise dashboards.

So what or who is The Dashboard Spy? As his about page states, The Dashboard Spy is just a guy interested in the design of enterprise dashboards. He could not find any executive dashboard design source books (or even screenshots of real business dashboards) and so set about creating his own. Finally convinced to post his extensive collection of dashboard screenshots online, he was amazed to find how popular it has become. If you have a nice screenshot of a digital dashboard, balanced scorecard, or any business intelligence graphic to share, please send an email to info _at_ Also check out The Dashboard Spy’s favorite books on business dashboards.

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