I wish I had a nickel for each time a person has asked me to share an example of a good healthcare dashboard. If I did, I’d have a whole lot of nickels, which I would use to buy a whole lot of bubble-gum (I really like bubble-gum).
Oh well-no nickels, no bubble-gum; but I am happy all the same to share a prototype dashboard that I created for a hospital Chief Executive Officer (CEO), and that Steve Few of Perceptual Edge included in the recently updated edition of his book Information Dashboard Design.
This dashboard takes into account the current environment in which hospital CEO’s have to navigate-one shaped by Value Based Purchasing (VBP) and public reporting, and where financial, clinical, information technology, and patient satisfaction results are all inextricably linked. Driving VBP and indeed all the information that these CEO’s require to be successful is the conviction that healthcare buyers (payers, patients) should hold healthcare providers (hospitals, doctors) accountable for both the cost and the quality of care they deliver.
Hospital Occupancy and Financial Indicators
- In the upper left panel of the dashboard are industry-standard metrics on the hospital’s occupancy rate and average daily census along with high-level financial results-revenue and expenses-all compared with budget. Up- and down-arrow icons are used to alert the CEO to specific areas that may require further inquiry, and to deviation graphs that show the direct variance of actual performance compared with budget for the preceding12 months.
- The next set of bar charts allows the CEO to easily monitor any changes to payer mix from the previous to the current year. Presenting the information, which helps to inform many of the financial management decisions made by a hospital, this way makes it easy to see any significant changes.
Hospital Quality and Patient Satisfaction
- The hospital’s quality and patient satisfaction results for mandated performance measures are displayed by a black vertical line for each measure (and include a target or goal encoded by the vertical line). This information is important not only as a measure of the quality of care, but also because a hospital must achieve specific targets to receive full reimbursement from third-party payers. An information display of this type allows a CEO to understand how well the staff is performing and where to focus improvement efforts.
- All of this information (along with hospital mortality rates) is now being reported on public websites in an effort to help consumers make informed decisions about where to receive their care. Given such free and public circulation of these crucial benchmarks, the CEO cannot afford any surprises about her|his hospital’s performance, and must have a fast, easy, accessible way to continually monitor it. Displaying risk-adjusted mortality rates with accompanying confidence intervals over time allows a CEO to discuss them with clinicians in a direct, accurate, useful way.
- Hospital CEO’s must also monitor Electronic Health Record (EHR) compliance-not only because such records hold the promise of improved patient care, but because the federal government offers significant financial incentives to hospitals that can demonstrate their Meaningful Use (MU). When EHR compliance by sub-specialty is ranked in a horizontal bar graph that includes a target compliance rate, a CEO can easily and quickly see the who and the how of EHR use, and where attention and resources need to be focused.
Here’s the bottom line: the real key to creating an effective dashboard is to understand the people who will be using it, and the decisions they need to make. Armed with this knowledge, you will be able to design dashboards that deliver an overview of what is going on and that empower your viewers to quickly identify what needs action.
P.S. I hope you found this example and the additional information helpful! If so, please consider a donation of Bazooka Bubble-Gum to my address.