Track metrics that enable smarter strategic decisions
Before building a dashboard, it's critical to define a set of strategic priorities, such as growing patient volumes or improving outpatient access. With these goals as the foundation, decide on the metrics you want to represent performance on each. A top-notch dashboard includes metrics that are:
- Concise yet diverse, and aligned with the goals of your department;
- Outcomes linked to process metrics;
- Meaningful to the intended audience; and
- Feasible to track.
Once you've decided on a set of metrics, work with your IT team to collect and organize data to track metrics regularly. Then, analyze performance over time to uncover improvement opportunities.
Take data-driven action
UCLA Health provides a prime example as to how an imaging program can realize results from an effective dashboard. Among the dashboards UCLA has, its referral leakage dashboard helps the organization analyze and root cause imaging leakage by tracking key referral data such as ordering provider name and specialty, type of exam ordered, and patient residence. UCLA then created a process to feed this data from Salesforce into Tableau, a data visualization software, to generate market-wide heat maps of physician leakage.
Users can view heat maps for volumes and patient leakage and drill down by provider origin, patient origin, and provider affiliation. Users can double-click into a region for additional details including:
- Most commonly referred exams, by office and physician;
- Leakage by each office, each physician in area, by modality;
- UCLA sites most often referred to by office and/or physician; and
- Competitor facilities most often referred to by office and/or physician.
Analysis of these maps uncovered a key opportunity: 75% of patients from one PCP office received mammograms outside the system. To capture these patients, UCLA moved an underutilized machine and provided imaging staff to the PCP office, reducing referral leakage from 75% to 0%. The leadership at UCLA estimates that, by using the heat maps to expand capacity and target outreach, they have generated about $30 million in incremental revenue.
Make sense of system performance
Dashboard creation can be particularly daunting for large health systems, who have a deluge of data to manage. University of Kentucky Healthcare (UKY Healthcare) created a dashboard that balances between depth and breadth of metrics. Its dashboard is broken into two pages:
- The first page contains a variety of high-level data that provides a holistic gauge of system performance. This includes metrics such as total number of examinations by month and patient class, and median inpatient and ED turnaround time. When leaders look at this first slide, they can easily ascertain UKY's performance from a system perspective.
- The second page provides more granular analysis. For example, "Total Number of Examinations by Month and Patient Class" is expanded to include information like total number of patients, exams, and exams per patient across care settings and sites.
Similarly, the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Health System created its dashboard in Excel and split data across tabs in a meaningful and digestible fashion. For a system-level understanding, leaders can review the operations, access, hospital roll-up, or ambulatory roll-up tabs. They also created modality-specific tabs to track system-level scanner performance. Finally, they've included site- and modality-specific data so leaders can compare modality performance between sites. Breaking down these critical perspectives into separate components provides UAB a holistic understanding of service line performance without sacrificing the details.
As we can see from these programs, effective dashboards can help imaging leaders identify and act on strategic priorities, while allowing them to summarize service line performance in a meaningful manner. Whether you're looking to optimize your dashboard through heat maps or simply organize in a more cohesive fashion, a deeper investment can help safeguard performance.
Here's a recap of the dashboards cited throughout the blog:
Do you think your dashboard is best in class? Submit your dashboard to firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to be featured.
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