What is a healthcare dashboard?
First of all, try to imagine the vast amounts of data being handled in the healthcare industry. The pool of data includes not only patient data like EMRs (electronic medical records), length of stay (LOS) or the number of occupied beds, but also financial, administrative and other information necessary for operating a healthcare institution.
Many healthcare organizations use data-driven Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track their performance and all of them aggregate vast arrays of information concerning critical performance metrics. This data is collected and analyzed by different departments and herein lies the biggest problem for data processing in the healthcare domain. The data is collected, edited and stored in different formats, so it is a serious challenge to make accurate comparisons.
Clearly, the people dealing with this information want to get more insight and a deeper understanding of the data obtained, which is why they try to use dashboards that create a more informed picture of their healthcare organization and make it more performance-transparent.
We could say that a medical dashboard is a tool for healthcare analytics. Healthcare dashboards are complex tools aggregating data from multiple sources and providing an in-depth view of a the performance metrics of the whole hospital team, with the ability to be agile in analyzing and using the data. The main objective of those tools is to eliminate inefficiencies, like poor quality or inconsistent data, to improve reporting and data analysis, and to provide insight.
Who can profit from healthcare dashboards?
Though healthcare organizations may vary in size, there are several stakeholders common to every hospital. Each of them require real time data to be able to not only perform their daily functions but also to find out how to make things better.
Want to know who are they? Here’s a short list:
- Hospital Administration. These guys need to see the whole picture in one place – how the system works at each level. Healthcare dashboard metrics allow them to track the performance of the hospital – both in terms of commercial efficiency (like costs and the number of admissions) and in terms of treatment success rates (LOS, diagnosis by department, etc.). Knowing where problems are and potential areas for innovation allows them to make better decisions, improve the quality of care, provide more efficient resource management, lower costs and to optimize workloads.
- Medical Staff. Data analysis is critical in evidence-based medicine. Doctors are trained from clinical data. They are taught to analyze patient therapies based on data in medical books. So a single dashboard containing all patient data is a convenient tool to track the effectiveness of treatments and to compare the work of clinicians with their colleagues. This is an effective way to enhance clinician performance as well as patient satisfaction.
- Government/Federal Organizations. These organizations need to track the quality and safety of healthcare organization operations, their financial rankings and credit ratings. Here healthcare dashboards are used to monitor how healthcare systems stack up against one another.
- Patients and Their Families. These stakeholders need transparency and information consolidation. A dashboard with a user-friendly interface can help them select a hospital or track treatment progress, which also enhances patient satisfaction.
Let’s check how those dashboards look
Let’s have a look at some patient dashboard examples and try to compare the pros and cons. Of course, healthcare dashboard templates differ in terms of functionality and the visual format of reports, but all of them have one thing in common – they focus on some specific area of healthcare data: EMR (electronic medical records), EHR (electronic health records), specific departmental data, administrative data, or financial data. When comparing dashboards we used data provided by www.capterra.com, a well-known software finder.
PrimeSuite by Greenway Medical Technologies
The provider says that this product is a single-database EHR, PM and interoperability solution combining clinical, financial and administrative functionalities. The product is certified and has received the KLAS award. Primarily, the Windows installed version is deployed.
A Patient Portal
- Easy to use, good navigation
- Good training material
- Very functional EHR system
- Good customer support
- Deployment is focused on the installed version. The cloud version is difficult to use.
- Impossible to remove patient information once it was entered into the system. Some features could be more adaptable and customized by users
- Old fashioned visual format
- Limited report generator
- Quite costly
iPatientCare EHR by iPatientCare
These products include cloud-based EHR and integrated PMS, a patient portal, health information exchange, and mobile solutions. Certified for Meaningful Use stage 2 Ambulatory and Inpatient. Deployed by cloud, SaaS, web. Installed (Mac and Windows) and mobile (Android Native and iOS Native) versions are available.
The features include:
Meaningful Use Certified
- A lot of features and many specialties supported
- Customized workflow
- Quick and easy signup process
- Smooth navigation
- Simple and effective layout
- Integrated solution (Patient Charting and health records, Practice Management, scheduling and billing)
- Mobile applications to access EHR
- Very slow screen to screen transition
- Some popular browsers are not supported
- Slow improvement implementation
- System requires a lot of memory on server
- Quite a lot of clicks necessary to refer a patient
- Impossible to print a cumulative report out on labs. Lab ordering not efficient
- To see all buttons/functions it’s necessary to toggle screens
- Some time needed to work out all bugs after new version is installed
Insta HMS by Insta Health Solutions
The product is a cloud/web-based application which covers all financial, clinical and operational requirements of a hospital/clinic.
The features include:
EMR / HER
Insurance Eligibility Verification
- A lot of functionality
- Easy to use
- Convenient report builder
- Missing functionality inside the modules
- Some specialties missing
The fact is medical dashboards are powerful BI tools, and benefits of dashboards in healthcare are obvious – they help streamline hospital operations and improve efficiency both of medical and administrative departments. But there are still some challenges to be addressed.
If a healthcare dashboard is such a key to successful data management, why it is still viewed as the “next step”?
The thing is that many existing healthcare analytics systems are only short-term solutions that need continuous improvement and a more sound approach to analytics. A more systematic approach to reducing costs and improving quality is needed. This can only be done by making modifications and updates to make those systems to make them compliant with new industry standards.
Hospitals now predominantly use data silos with data in various formats. That is why the United States healthcare industry starting to reform these processes. This reform includes three major, overlapping developments in the evolution of data management and information technology utilization.
In short, it’s focused on data collection, data sharing, and data analysis in accordance with new HL7 standards. Data collection will be performed through electronic medical records. Data sharing will involve the adoption of health information exchanges, and data analysis will involve the use of enterprise data warehouses and analytic tools.
According to the Health Level Seven® INTERNATIONAL website, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published the Final Rule for Health Information Technology that included an Initial Set of Standards, Implementation Specifications, and Certification Criteria for Electronic Health Record Technology. The new standards relate to Clinical Document Architecture, Continuity of Care Documentation, Data Segmentation for Privacy, Decision Support Services, Electronic Laboratory Reporting to Public Health Releases, Messaging, Clinical Decision Support, etc. The list of standards included in the Final Rule can be found here.
The good news
The good news is that it is not necessary to create a new hospital dashboard if you already have one, which can save money. Experienced software developers can simply update the interface and marry the data with old data to bring it into compliance with the new standards.
As healthcare dashboards are critical for users (e.g., clinicians, executives, and improvement teams), when updating or developing a new dashboard for a hospital it is extremely important to provide advanced visualization and improve the UX.
New healthcare dashboard designs should have a unified look and feel to be able to give insightful information in an easy-to-understand format. This is important not only for clinicians and hospital administration, but also for investors and grantors.
Experienced software developers can modify existing systems to present the dashboard data in a way that will be friendly for all its users. There are also some key aspects to creating a sustainable and reliable BI tool.
In short, to build a high-value healthcare dashboard, it is necessary to provide:
reliable data from a single source so that everyone in the organization, from executive to frontline clinicians, can speak the same language.
relevant data that has buy-in from the whole team and display only the information necessary for the user.
effective data comparison for getting valuable insights.
easy access for every user who needs to view the relevant information.
interactive unified data collection forms to decrease the time necessary for filling them out.
data security that allows control over the rights to edit data collection forms.
near real-time data in the form of interactive reports – to allow the hospital team address challenges promptly and implement changes when they are necessary.
trends and benchmark features to keep staff engaged and motivated.
Hospital dashboard development allows you to get a powerful and efficient tool to aggregate and analyze data crucial to your business. Whatever you may need to improve in your healthcare analytics system, we can provide you with intelligent and cost-saving solutions.
Archer Software is a premier software development company, having an impressive pool of successful clients in the healthcare domain. We can develop BI tools that combine powerful data processing with an advanced user experience, all while meeting the strict requirements of the new healthcare industry standards.