Much of how care is provided from physicians and other specialists includes the ability to measure how well a patient is doing and compare that to either earlier recorded documentation or against patients with similar ailments. But this is only a small part of the picture of what happens, and one that has changed over the last couple of decades. Having access to a key measures dashboard could be the difference between a positive outcome or a negative one.
What are Key Measures
To run any business, whether healthcare related or not, means you understand what is going on within the business at all times. For many other industries and business, it is very easy to grasp the needs, variances, problematic areas and areas where waste is occurring. This is not the case for healthcare due to the complexity, variability from patient to patient, and that some outcomes are dependent upon outside factors that are out of the control of the healthcare professional. This doesn’t mean that tracking of things like:
- Infection rates: Infection rates are also referred to in some scenes as incident rates and they refer to the risk or probability of an infection occurring in a population or group of people.
- Wait time for patients: This refers to the average time a patient has to wait (from the moment they walk into a hospital lobby or emergency room) to the time they are attended to by a medical staff.
- Medical errors
- Patient’s non-conformance to requests
- Readmission’s rate
- Length of stay
- Morbidity and mortality rates
- Patient’s census information
- Satisfaction levels
When an organization understands the fundamentals of what is going on within their system, even down to things that might reflect on them badly, the more likely the system can be changed and care can be delivered more efficiently and effectively. It is especially important to know where events are negatively impacted to then figure out how to correct them. But, if negative experiences are covered up, the problems will continue unabated.
What is a Key Measures Dashboard?
Again, as with many businesses, healthcare has turned to a software that turns raw data into a picture, graph, statistics and actionable data that is being used on every level of a healthcare system. For physicians working with patients, a key measures dashboard is able to change a patient’s healthcare record into a visual perspective that is easy to interpret, see marked trends and identify where problems are currently or might be in the future. This kind of pictorial view not only is much simpler and takes less time to understand as compared to lists of numbers but makes it easier to engage the patients in their own healthcare because they can see what is going on rather than having to decipher and analyze possible trends.
For administrators, who are watching over the organization, making decisions for everyone involved and working to make the system more efficient, a key measure dashboard takes what is happening with patients, tracks staffing needs, adds in requirements, standards and goals for the organization and paints a clear picture of where processes are working and where there is waste or inefficiencies occurring. This allows decision makers to refine the methods of practice to not only manage the inner workings of the organization but also to provide answers to where better care can be administered.
These graphics, whether of the big picture of the organization or a smaller picture of a patient’s specific needs, eliminates the guesswork that sometimes accompanies the provision of care. It isn’t that this hasn’t been happening on some level or another, however, the ability to deliver timely, accurate and unbiased information hasn’t always been available. Most reporting was being provided about a month after the fact and required several individuals to make the process happen. Human error and prejudices always played a part in the practice.
With the implementation of healthcare dashboards and the ability for healthcare organizations to depend upon data analytics and data drilling, the need for a team to work on reporting has been greatly decreased. Data-driven answers are being made available almost immediately to anyone seeking the information, which eliminates the speculation that might have happened without exact data.
Healthcare organizations need to measure and understand almost every aspect of what happens with patients, professionals, payers, and care. The amount of data being gathered, especially now that most everything is electronically recorded, is far too daunting for people to truly handle. But, with the help of the key measures dashboard, the work is being done behind the scenes as the information is being entered. The software is able to turn incoming data into a picture of health for the organization and for each individual patient. We each have a level of expectation when we seek medical care, and this picture can be graphs and graphics; in fact, this makes it easier for everyone to quickly grasp what is going on.