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Dashboards in healthcare: The essentials
Delaney Turner 270002T14M firstname.lastname@example.org | | Tags:  healthcare business_intelligence dashboards cognos
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For today's feature article, we look at the criteria for a successful dashboard deployment in healthcare.
Healthcare organizations are increasingly using dashboards to provide at-a-glance views of current business performance and decision-making. It’s one of the most common requests from the hospital or practice administrator to his IT department.
But not all dashboards are created equal. There are many niche solutions that may present a nice picture, however, they are fueled by a team of analysts working behind the scenes to combine data from multiple siloed systems—each attempting to collect, score, and display the data that is shown each morning.
To be effective, dashboard strategies should automate the processes that provide each level of management visibility into the functions for which they accountable; present information that is appropriate to both their role and responsibility; be updated on a schedule that meets their unique needs; and be shared consistently across the entire enterprise.
A series of disconnected dashboards is of no value to the organization and with scarce resources for IT projects, healthcare organizations require a solution that accommodates these factors and others, to ensure that the dashboard strategy deployed meets the needs of the entire the healthcare enterprise.
Three main criteria
According to Wayne Eckerson in a TDWI Best Practices report, every dashboard should provide three main areas of function: monitoring, analysis and reporting. These sets of related functionalities should be woven together seamlessly and built on an information infrastructure designed to fulfill the end user needs.
The most distinctive feature of a dashboard, writes Erickson, is its three layers of information:
Much like peeling the layers of an onion, he writes, a performance management system lets users peel back layers of information to get to the root cause of a problem. Each layer provides additional details, views and perspectives that enable users to understand a problem and identify the steps they must take to address it.
Metrics, thresholds and targets key
Dashboards must be easy to use, provide the right level of interactivity and enable users to drill down into the results. Also, the dashboards must be integrated across the organization and share a common data source. Finally — and most important — dashboards must deployed within the context of a performance management strategy, with metrics, thresholds, and targets all tied to commonly understood and shared business goals. To build a successful dashboard deployment, healthcare organizations and their IT departments must take into account these and many other considerations in their user base.
For healthcare executives facing the challenges of the industry, having complete and accurate information to base their decisions is the requirement, and no longer can disconnected data and isolated balanced scorecards be tolerated.