Accreditation

Use dashboards to give your facility's data meaning

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, March 1, 2005

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When you're driving a car, which is more meaningful to you: How fast the wheels are turning or how fast the car is moving? The latter is, especially if you think of the wheels turning as the car's data and your speed as the data's meaning. The same is true in a hospital, says Thomas J. Mulvaney, MD, CPE, vice president of medical affairs at Winchester (MA) Hospital.

"Many organizations present as their primary indicators the charts and graphs they develop, but this adds layers, and many audience members don't need or want all that data. They just want the meaning of [it]," says Mulvaney. To achieve this at Winchester , he developed a dashboard.

What is a dashboard?

A dashboard is a collection of quality, performance, and other key information displayed in an easy-to-view format, typically on one page, using spreadsheet software such as Excel. It serves as the front page to all the charts and graphs collected.

The purpose of a dashboard is to disseminate information organizationwide, from leadership down to all appropriate managers, so everyone can see how the organization is performing. Organizations can also share it with external audiences, such as the JCAHO during a survey, contracting parties, quality review parties, or the department of public health.

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