Samples of Healthcare Dashboards

A big Dashboard Spy hello to the reader working on healthcare dashboards for the U.S. Army – you know who you are – thanks again for your service.

Here’s a listing of healthcare related dashboards featured in past posts here on The Dashboard Spy.

KPIs for a Healthcare Provider Dashboard
Healthcare Facility Management Enterprise Dashboard
Health Care KPI Scorecard
Hospital dashboard shows KPI alerts to management
Health Care Clinical Quality and Safety Dashboard
Nursing Quality Metrics
Healthcare Dashboards
Excel Dashboard for Hospital Bed Management

Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms

This was covered earlier this year, but is being provided again at the request of a Dashboard Spy reader looking for this again. It’s the most recent Gartner  Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms report.

Here is the link to the reprint from Gartner:

Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence Platforms

Here’s the famous Magic Quadrant diagram:


Gartner Magic Quadrant Business Intelligence

Gartner Magic Quadrant Business Intelligence


Sales Representative Performance Dashboard

A Dashboard Spy reader found a paper detailing specific problems when applying business intelligence solutions to sales force field performance management. First, let’s cut to the chase by showing what they feel makes for a good solution. Take a look at these two dashboard screenshots:

sales force dashboard

sales representative performance dashboard

Now, here’s what they say many people make in terms of mistakes:

Timely and accurate sales performance information provides necessary feedback to help sales managers manage and reps stay focused. Unfortunately, many companies struggle to provide clear and meaningful information to their field sales organization and/or distributors. When this occurs, compensation plans lose their punch and reps waste time building their own tracking reports.

The typical sales operations group will have a set of technologies and reporting tools that are fairly sophisticated in providing information for their field. Why then, is the state of reporting and analytics considered less than optimal at so many companies today? Some of the symptoms that are commonly observed when information is less than adequate are the following:

  • Sales reps are complaining about the lack of information, and question the integrity of their information they do receive.
  • Reports are often not more advanced than a simple set of statements, none of which are working in conjunction with one another.
  • Information must be consumed through a web portal, which requires an additional login.
  • Management has access to simple dashboards, but advanced analytics have not been set up for business users, so speedometers, temperature gauges, and other tools are very simplistic.
  • Management has been set up with a state of the art business intelligence solution, but the promise of “self-service” has not been realized because the tool is not designed to meet the needs of the business users.

PACU Nurse Dashboard

Medical operations dashboards always make for excellent case studies because mistakes can mean the difference between life and death. You know those stories about people that write “wrong arm” or “wrong leg” so as to keep medical errors from happening to them? Well, it’s an understatement to say that medical dashboards have to get the data presentation correct. Take a look at this screen shot and I’ll tell you more about it below.

pacu nurse operating room dashboard

pacu dashboard

Communication in the perioperative environment is critical for patient safety and effective teamwork. Team members need to know the name of the patient, scheduled procedure, patient precautions and allergies, along with names of team members working together for a given case. Over the past several years, Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) developed an intra-operative dashboard in collaboration with LiveData (Cambridge, Massachusetts) to aid in the Timeout/Universal Protocol process as well as provide these critical communication elements.

Frontline clinicians imagined this type of communication would be beneficial if extended to the PACU environment to allow easy communication to the PACU staff and improved handoffs. In the typical environment, advance communication from the OR to the PACU often consists of a phone call upon completion of the case. The call alerts the PACU that the patient is nearly ready to leave the OR for the PACU and provides information related to the stability of the patient and any special needs the patient may have. If the patient requires more care than anticipated, nurses may need to reorganize assignments among themselves and find additional resources to provide appropriate patient care.

Accustomed to surprises, PACU nurses are adept at managing resources quickly and efficiently so that patient care is not compromised. Nevertheless, clinicians at Massachusetts General Hospital have continued exploration of creative uses for technology with the design, development, and introduction of an innovative tool to help reduce the level of uncertainty in the PACU and facilitate hand-offs from the OR. A “communication” dashboard that structures and automates the flow of crucial information about incoming patients is currently installed in a dedicated PACU as part of the MGH Best Practice Pod Project. The dashboard automatically provides a real-time global outlook of three operating rooms on a large monitor positioned in a central location on the PACU wall (Figures 2‚4). At any given moment, the recovery team can glance up and see:

Operating room number

Name of procedure

Operative milestone: such as induction, surgery start, emergence

Milestone timers:

Surgical time: time elapsed since the start of surgery until completion of the surgical procedure

Emergence time: time elapsed from the end of surgery until the patient leaves the room

Turnover time: time elapsed from the patient leaves the room until the next patient enters

Physiologic trends: patient vital signs with indicators for invasive hemodynamic monitoring

Anesthesia, nursing and surgical personnel working in the OR

When Down is Up and Up is Down

As a user interface and usability professional, I’m always excited when major shifts in software applications and operating systems happen. I always jump in as an early adopter just to experience the differences. Yesterday, I upgraded to Apple Lion and I must admit that my mind has been bent into a pretzel over the change they made in how scrolling works. It’s now “backwards”. I mean that literally. I know it’s hard to believe, but I know literally have to scroll down to go up and up to go down.

If you have a Mac, upgrade to Lion and get your mind blown just for the expansionary effects of it. Here’s a great commentary on the scrolling change. It’s from OS X Lion: New Scrolling Behavior:

For those who do not know yet, Apple, in the latest version of Mac OS X (Lion), in order to more closely align with iOS, switched the handling of two-finger scrolling behavior. In iOS, dragging your fingers from bottom to top scrolls down. In previous versions of OS X, two finger dragging on the track pad from bottom to top would scroll up. This behavior is now switched, so that bottom to top scrolls down. The same holds true for right/left. I’m going to give it the time to get used to it, but so far not so good.

I’m not sure the new method makes entire sense though. On iOS and touch-based devices, it completely makes sense as you are literally dragging the screen with your finger. It’s a natural interaction as if you are actually pulling a piece of paper up to further read the document. Before the introduction of multi-touch trackpads, scroll bars were the primary way to perform scrolling. Scroll bars naturally pull down to scroll down. As a result, you are actually dragging from top to bottom. Scroll bars were never meant to interact directly with the viewport, but rather was meant to specify where within the viewport the content should be viewed. It was like a range widget, for example. Both of these cases were extremely natural. Then, multi-touch trackpads came on the scene with two-finger scrolling to be able to ditch the scroll bars. In this scenario, Apple maintained the top to bottom equals scroll down mentality to make it similar to as if you were literally dragging the scroll bar. In essence, two finger scrolling was just a quick and easy way to drag the scroll bar. Now, that logic has been completely flip-flopped and Apple wants you to think in terms of literally dragging the content rather than interacting with a scroll bar. The problem I have with this is that you are not literally dragging and touching the document. You are interacting with a physical touchpad. Further, it is inherent to the brain that you pull down to drag down and pull up to drag up. For example, a mouse with a scroll wheel would still scroll properly as it just makes sense. You want to scroll down, scroll the mouse down. The same should prolly hold true for the touchpad. Otherwise, it is like trying to trick your natural brain impression. It’s like trying to pat your head and rub your stomach…sure it can be done but you have to trick your brain to do so.

Here is a test to perform for yourself. Imagine you have a touch screen macbook. Without thinking try to scroll this article up and down with your finger. You will prolly notice you tried to literally drag it from top to bottom to scroll down or vice-versa. It just makes sense which is why it makes sense on iOS. Now try to do the same experiment from the touchpad and you’ll almost certainly want to do the opposite because you are now thinking in terms of scroll bars, not windows (after all you are interacting with the scroll, not the window). The only question I have is whether that rationale is because we have become used to scrolling in that sense from trackpads or whether it truly is natural. Apple is betting on the former and expecting over time that the natural expectation will change to better align with iOS.



Michigan Government Performance Dashboard

Dashboard Spy readers know that I’m a big fan of providing government spending transparency by surfacing the data to the public via business intelligence dashboards. I’ve covered most of the government dashboards in use right now and I’m trying to “complete the set” by examining the efforts of each state.

Today, we look at the Michigan State Government Performance Dashboard. It is available at and here are 2 screenshots. The first one is from an earlier rendition. The second dashboard is the current production performance dashboard.

Performance Dashboard from Michigan State Government



Michigan State Government Performance Dashboard


The story behind these local government dashboards is a very interesting one. The impetus for these dashboards came from Governor Snyder and he used his State of the State speech to introduce and promote the dashboard concept.

The following is an excerpt from an excellent article on the speech titled Peering at Synder’s Dashboard.


The core of the speech was the “Michigan Dashboard,” a website setting out 21 measures of how Michigan is performing on the big-picture subjects: the economy, health and education, quality of life, public safety and “value for government.”

The Dashboard will be updated periodically to give both the public and folks in government an idea of how we stack up against other states — and indicate whether we’re making progress or not

Most importantly, however, it’s a public device to hold public officials accountable for performance. Devices like this are a relatively common business tool, a quick and easy way to see how things are going. The idea is to allow management to focus time and resources on important areas rather than waste energy on largely scattershot approaches.

But when it comes to government, introducing a transparent, updated, publicly available way to judge actual progress — or lack of it –is nothing short of revolutionary. It puts the focus squarely on actual data, benchmarked against other states.

Among other good things, it’ll help eliminate debates in Lansing based on incomplete or inaccurate information, or in many cases, on mere ideology. There is something enormously refreshing about our state’s leading political figure putting a priority on just the facts.

Bottom line: If Snyder wanted to make a qualitative change in the way our state is governed, installing the Michigan Dashboard in the heart of his State of the State speech was a great way to do it.

Snyder didn’t exactly invent this approach but few governors I know of have ever held up such a specific and public mirror by which the public can judge their success. In terms of other such metrics, the Oregon Progress Board has tracked the state’s standing on dozens of quality of life measures for years. and, The Center for Michigan has published since 2008 a “Michigan Scorecard” tracking 29 topics in a similar manner.

No doubt there will be reasonable quibbles about the dashboard’s design. There is little attention paid to the environment. Attendance at state parks is hardly the only good measure of how we’re taking care of our woods and waters. And the value-for-government chart shows Michigan state government operating cost as a percentage of gross state product (the best measure of the size of our economy) without benchmarking it against other states.

But overall, it’s a great step. And it signifies a governor who is interested in how things really are rather than how they might be.


I’ll cover more on this Michigan Dashboard soon.

Better Life Index

Can quality of life be quantified and displayed as an interactive dashboard? Well, take a look at the delightful work being done at the OECD Better Life Initiative. Take in these fantastic screenshots and then visit the live interactive site here: Better Life Initiative Dashboard.

better life initiative dashboard

The flowers represent various quality of life measure across the 34 member countries of the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, an international organisation helping governments tackle the economic, social and governance challenges of a globalised economy – according to their own definition).

Here is what you see when you drill down into the flower representing the USA:

quality of life metrics

For an excellent description of this novel infographic, see the Visual Business Intelligence post “Data Blooms in Beauty and Truth“.

Here is an excerpt:

On the left, words are used to provide the narrative, while on the right a visual display makes it easy to see how the United States compares to the other countries at a glance. The series of small vertical bars next to each label (Housing, Income, etc.) represents in miniature the values associated with each country ranked from lowest to highest, with the highlighted bar representing the United States. These tiny graphs tell a rich story in little space. Consider Safety for a moment. Not only can we quickly see that the United States is near the bottom with a score of 7.6 out of 10, but that most countries score within a narrow range, with two significant exceptions represented by the lowest bars on the left. Scanning the various measures, I quickly spot that our highest score relative to the other countries is Income (ranked second), but the score of 6.5 is much lower than the highest country. By hovering over the tallest bar a pop-up display tells me that Luxembourg leads the pack with a perfect Income score of 10.

I hope you can see from this brief description that the designers of this infographic achieved a marriage of form and function, beauty and usability, that did not subsume one to the other in an unequal partnership as many infographics do. It was designed and developed by Moritz Stefaner, Jonas Leist and Timm Kekeritz. I don’t know these fellows and know almost nothing about their other work, so I cannot vouch for its merits, but this one example speaks highly of their abilities and their respect for information. If you check on the background of Moritz Stefaner, you’ll find that he has a B.S. in Cognitive Science and an M.A. in Interface Design. His background provides an understanding of the human brain, which clearly directs him to display data in ways that our eyes can perceive and brains can comprehend with ease, speed, and accuracy. The other designers also have backgrounds that make them sensitive to issues of usability. They didn’t just make an infographic that was pretty and provided a little information in a semi-effective way. They could have made the flower petals spin around, but they knew better. Infographics don’t need to shout to get noticed; a welcoming smile and the promise of intelligent conversation is all they need. These guys created a piece of work that is beautiful, engaging, simple, easy to use, easy to understand, accurate, and deeply informative.

Work of this type differs from day-to-day examples of data visualization in two ways:

  • It requires a great deal of graphical design expertise
  • It requires a great deal of time

Features of Real Time Dashboards

A couple of years ago, Juice Analytics ran a picture that I featured on The Dashboard Spy of a large Network Operations Center dashboard. Here’s the photo as seen on their blog:

Realtime Dashboard

It’s worth reviewing the features that real time dashboards must have to offer real value to their users:

  1. A summary status that indicates how things stand overall. Users need to be able to tell at a glance whether they should worry or not.
  2. Reflect a well-understood structure of the business. By the time you design a real-time dashboard, you should have a strong theory for how the pieces of the business fit together (i.e. the relationships between key measures, drivers, and available actions).
  3. Support quick diagnosis of problems. The data presentation should point directly to the likely source of the problem. Real-time dashboards aren’t the place for deep analysis or introspection into the drivers of the business.
  4. Simple data presentation. In my view, real-time dashbaord’s aren’t the place for complex or advanced data visualizations.
  5. Granular view of the “unit of action.” Real-time dashboards are often about tracking activity. It may be useful to show the raw data around these events in the form of a ticker, scroll or RSS feed.
  6. Appropriate time window. Getting time right on an operational dashboard is critical. If the measures and trends represent too long a time period, users may not react to changes quickly enough. On the other hand, very small time windows encourage frantic reactions to changes that may not represent real trends. Ideally, the dashboard should offer the ability to configure this time range and “freeze” a moment in time.
  7. Prominent but balanced alerts. Naturally, alerting users to problems is a central mission for real-time dashboards. The challenge (as always with alerts) is to balance between “the sky is falling” hysteria and “don’t worry, be happy” apathy. I’ve written before about alerts, but one item to emphasize is the need to show a sense of relative importance. Not all problems have the same impact on the business, and finding a way to communicate this relative importance is valuable.
  8. Point to specific action. If real-time dashboards are about identifying and responding to issues, the tool should point users to what they can do about a problem. This can be as simple as displaying the phone number of the right person to call.

Investor Risk Dashboard

Dashboard designers take note! The “text-only” dashboard is alive and well. Just released by the well respected UK newspaper, Financial Times, The Investor Risk Dashboard is an all text dashboard with valuable data.

Take a look at the screen shot of the investor dashboard and then I’ll share the extensive explanation of the data given by

investor risk dashboard

The idea behind this dashboard is very simple. Hedge fund managers and economists spend all their time looking at sentiment, volatility and valuation-based models trying to figure out if markets are becoming complacent or expensive. So why can’t private investors?
If you know where to look, you can find measures such as Robert Shiller’s cyclically-adjusted price/earnings ratio for the S&P 500. But finding all the key risk measures in one place is almost impossible.

That’s where the dashboard comes in.

Nick Bullman, the Bath-based hedge fund manager who runs a subscription-based service called Check Risk, has helped me put together this spreadsheet of risk-based measures for key markets.

All the measures used in this spreadsheet are open sourced and available online and each spreadsheet also contains a quick primer that explains the measures used.

Please respect’s ts&cs and copyright policy which allow you to: share links; copy content for personal use; & redistribute limited extracts. Email to buy additional rights or use this link to reference the article –


Behavioural Factors

Periphery Europe Sovereign Credit Default Swaps (CDS)

CDS are insurance contracts insuring the ability of the bond issuer to pay interest and principal on their debt. Portugal Ireland Italy Greece and Spain’s CDS are stressed. This is a good gauge on the biggest risk in Europe.

Sovereign UK CDS

This factor is measured for the same reasons as the above but is a direct reflection of the UK’s indebtedness and debt to GDP ratio. The higher Sovereign CDS go the more likely a default

FTSE Volatility

Volatility, is viewed as a measure of market nervousness. However, it is generally a lagging indicator. We use volatility as a contra-indicator. The lower it goes the greater the risk of a surprise. The lower it is the more the market is underestimating market risks.

FTSE Insiders

Employees of FTSE companies who are buying or selling their own company’s shares are called insiders. This factor gives a perspective on what owners of the business are doing. It excludes share option sales.

Consumer confidence

Consumer confidence surveys are critical at present as they represent a important part of any recovery in the UK economy.

FTSE Volume Ratio

This is a ratio between the FTSE index price and daily volume. It is important because a rising market on thin volumes is riskier than one with plenty of volume support. The inverse is also true

Real Risk Factors

London Interbank Spread:

The LIBOR spread is a measure of the efficiency and liquidity of the banking system. Sharp rises in the spread reflect tension in the interbank market and is an indicator of credit risk

US TED Spread

The TED Spread shows the spread between interbank loans and short term US 3 month Treasury bills. It has two uses, it shows us any “flight to safety” as it happens because rates on short T Bills go down toward 0 or below and it reflects risk between “riskless” US T Bills and banks, which is essential in the current credit crisis. A rising spread often presages a downturn in the stock market as liquidity is drained from the system.


Is a useful indicator for risk as it reflects investor risk aversion and a measure of expected inflationary pressures.


West Texas intermediate oil is a risk factor because the price of crude oil directly impacts world GDP. Prices above $130 per bbl for 2 to 3 months would greatly increase the risk of a double dip recession

FTSE Dividend Index Future

This futures contract is the sum of all dividends on FTSE Shares. It is important to monitor dividend expectations when real interest rates are negative and beginning to rise.

Baltic Dry Index

The Baltic dry index measures the freight rates of dry bulk carriers shipping iron ore, coal, grain and other commodities. Generally this flow of goods is West to East from South America to China for example and is a strong leading indicator of input demand.

Other Factors

Gold Silver Ratio

The gold silver ratio tends to narrow in times of economic hardship, and widen as an economy recovers. The thinking goes that silver has more uses as an industrial metal and reflects that demand; whilst gold is bought as a safe haven instrument.

FTSE Moving Averages

The difference in the price of the index and its moving averages may be useful particularly at extreme values as the likelihood of a reversion to the mean price increases.

Robert Shiller’s Cyclically Adjusted Price to Earnings (CAPE) Ratio:

A widely used measure amongst value orientated investors that takes the average of the last ten years earnings for the benchmark S&P 500 index in the USA and then compares this adjusted price to this long term measure of earnings capacity.

Federal Government Using Dashboards to Cut Waste and Boost Performance

This hour long video features a panel discussion on how public sector productivity has simply been awful – it’s been climbing at only a third of that of the private sector. In fact, they simply stopped tracking the data (to try and cut costs, believe it or not!). Watch this video in which Jeffrey Zients, U.S. Chief Performance Officer and OMB’s Deputy Director for Management, and Vivek Kundra, U.S. Chief Information Officer, discuss progress made towards changing the way the Federal government uses IT to save money and deliver better service – including major use of business dashboards.

Topic: Federal I.T. Dashboards