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software development

Make data analysis and reporting easier with healthcare dashboards

Chris Powers
April 2nd, 2021
8 MINUTE READ

These days, healthcare organizations are inundated with data. While plentiful and impactful, this data is frequently scattered among various software systems and departments, leading to a lack of visibility into how an organization is performing in key areas. Analyzing data for key insights helps hospitals run more efficiently, physicians more effectively treat patients, and healthcare systems drive organizational improvements. But achieving these realities can be difficult without a single source of truth in regards to data. Enter healthcare dashboards.

What are healthcare dashboards?

Dashboards provide organizations with unparalleled visibility into key performance indicators (KPIs). KPIs are measurable values that organizations use to determine how well they are performing against established business goals and objectives. A KPI offers an objective perspective on how efficiently your business is running. KPIs are quantifiable ways to determine how adept your business is at turning opportunities into successes.

But KPIs are only as useful as the tools you use to monitor them. That’s where dashboards come into play. Dashboards are valuable technological solutions that allow organizations to track, display, and analyze KPIs, as well as other useful metrics and information. Organizations of all types set up dashboards to visualize, organize, and store data from multiple different sources in a single, easy-to-use environment.

On the back end, dashboards connect to the various systems, applications, and tools used by an organization—frequently through application programming interface (API) calls. Then, dashboards package the data taken from these disparate sources into a clean and simple user interface (UI). Just as the dashboard in your car provides you with real-time information on how the vehicle is performing, business dashboards enable organizations to glean valuable insights into how well they are running at any given time. 

Dashboards are extremely efficient tools for tracking multiple data sources because they represent central hubs for organizations to monitor and analyze KPIs. In the healthcare sector, dashboards have proven to be invaluable.

The recent surge of digital transformation in healthcare has made data from all facets of the space readily available. From resource allocation in hospitals, to patient satisfaction, to biometric insights and treatment feedback, actionable data is abundant in healthcare. Packaging and visualizing this data with dashboards is helping physicians create better treatment plans, surgeons perform better in the operating room, hospitals improve operational efficiency, and so much more.

Why healthcare organizations should use dashboards

Accurate and timely data enables the healthcare sector to consistently refine and improve processes, develop new innovations, and drive better patient outcomes. Healthcare systems, hospitals, private practices, and more represent complex organizations with unique needs. In order to be successful, it is imperative that these organizations have a solid understanding of several different sets of data. The ability to monitor performance and gather actionable insights is fundamental to the success of healthcare organizations.

Traditionally, organizations draw metrics and data from numerous different sources, like spreadsheets and databases. Analyzing each of these sources individually takes time, and does not provide the holistic view necessary to track KPIs. Dashboards successfully collect raw data from these sources, creating a central hub of information and a single source of truth. Healthcare organizations can deploy dashboards to understand the metrics that guide performance and goal-setting. This simplifies reporting and saves the time, energy, and costs associated with analyzing unique data sources individually.

Healthcare dashboards are extremely effective tools for helping healthcare organizations improve data visibility, contextualize data sets, monitor KPIs, and ultimately drive more efficient processes.  

Examples of healthcare dashboards

Hospital management dashboards 

Incorporating both staff and patient data, hospital management dashboards help hospitals run more efficiently while ensuring all patient needs are being adequately met. These dashboards give hospitals visibility into admissions, staffing, patient wait times, and much more. By analyzing data points like occupancy rate, average length of stay, and doctor-patient ratio against KPIs, administrators can learn how to refine processes and procedures to make hospitals more efficient.

Launching effective dashboard solutions is the first step towards improving patient experiences, managing workloads, driving down costs, and treating patients more effectively for many hospitals. 

Patient experience dashboards

“Patients are increasingly shopping for healthcare services, seeking the best possible overall experience when they need care,” says Jean-Pierre Stephan, who leads Accenture‘s health customer engagement consulting practice. “As a result, leading hospitals are growing profitability not by cutting costs, but by improving the patient experience and satisfaction.”

Improving and refining the patient experience is top of mind for numerous healthcare organizations these days. Patient experience dashboards provide hospitals and practices with a solid understanding of patients’ satisfaction with the healthcare experience. These dashboards take in numerous data points related to the patient experience, like wait times, length-of-stay, and satisfaction rates. They visualize and analyze this data, helping hospitals and practices evaluate their overall patient experiences, measure against established industry standards, and look for areas to improve. 

Emergency room (ER) status dashboards

Emergency rooms (ERs) are some of the most critical hospital environments. It’s extremely important that ERs are consistently running in tip-top shape, ensuring all patients get necessary care in a timely fashion. ER status dashboards ensure hospitals are adequately devoting staff and resources to keep up with the need for care. 

ER status dashboards offer hospitals real-time metrics to track and monitor how well they are delivering emergency care. By providing visibility into key ER metrics like wait time and patient status, ER dashboards help hospitals more effectively respond to patient needs and offer superior care in the most critical of environments. 

Medical billing dashboards

For healthcare organizations, having complete visibility into all payments—whether they are processed or outstanding—is essential. Having a clear picture of the financial status of your organization as it relates to patient billing will help you plan for the future, and determine areas for improvement in your payment process.

How to create a healthcare dashboard

No two healthcare dashboards are alike, just like no two patients are the same. Each organization—and patient—has its own set of unique needs and requirements. As such, there’s not a “one size fits all” approach to building effective healthcare dashboards. But there are some best practices to ensuring you get the most out of your healthcare dashboard. Let’s go step by step and look at all of the elements that make a transformational dashboard.

1. Conduct user research

To understand what goes into a successful dashboard, you need to fully understand the perspective of the people in your organization that will be using it day in and day out. The primary goal of dashboards is to convey relevant data and information in an easily digestible way. If a dashboard is too complex, it will be difficult to decipher and stakeholders will have a hard time gleaning insights from data. Talk to the users who will be engaging with the dashboard on a regular basis. Whether it’s hospital administrators, executives, physicians, or nurses, get their perspective on the best way to package quantitative data. This will prove invaluable to ensuring the dashboard is impactful from day one. 

2. Collect data sources

Establishing a clear understanding of what data sources will inform your dashboard is crucial. Then, it’s time to collect all of those sources and work out how they will connect to your dashboard. What systems will you need to draw from? Will you need to access electronic healthcare records (EHR) systems? How about patient intake data? Or enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools? And how will all of these sources integrate with your dashboard solution? Putting your entire flow of data under a microscope may be time-consuming, but it will help in the long run to ensure your dashboards are sourcing the most accurate and up-to-date information. 

3. Determine KPIs

KPIs are essential to the long-term success of your dashboard because they help measure your organization’s performance against established goals. Outlining achievable and responsible KPIs will help your organization define clear paths to improvement and actionable recommendations. KPIs should be manageable, and focus on high-impact areas, like the quality of care, operational success, and financial efficiency. 

4. Establish security standards

Because your dashboard will handle sensitive patient healthcare data and information, it is subject to the regulations put forth by the Health Insurance Portability & Accountability Act—more commonly referred to as HIPAA. HIPAA outlines key data privacy and security provisions that must be adhered to.

In order to comply with the law—and protect patient data—you must implement security protections for your dashboard. This includes data encryption and backup strategies, as well as rigorous security testing methods and contingency planning. To learn more about complying with HIPAA regulations, check out this blog

The power of data visualization

Arming your healthcare organization with impactful dashboards gives you the insight that only a holistic data solution can provide. Get a 360 degree understanding of how your organization kicks, compare that against intelligent KPIs and then find areas for improvement. In healthcare—like in many other industries—knowledge is power. Dashboards provide the knowledge that is enabling success in healthcare organizations at the forefront of the digital transformation revolution.

With extensive experience in the healthcare space, Codal knows what it takes to help build a successful healthcare dashboard. Working in close collaboration with a leading medical device manufacturer, Codal delivered a mobile dashboard application that helps hospitals understand their acute kidney injury (AKI) treatment programs, compare the programs against their peers, and improve overall workflows and operational performance in the ICU. This application helped to make sure that patients are receiving the safest treatment in the most critical areas of hospitals.

Interested in seeing how a leading healthcare web design and development agency can develop cutting-edge dashboards for your healthcare organization? Feel free to contact us.

Chris Powers
AUTHOR

Chris Powers

Chris is a Content Marketing Specialist at Codal. With a background in journalism and marketing, Chris has written about a variety of tech topics, including open source, fintech, and cybersecurity. Chris loves taking on new challenges with just a pen, paper, and his brain.

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