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Using an Enterprise Dashboard to Manage Hospital Beds

Dashboard Update: We’ve heard from the designer of this dashboard. Thank you for the contribution. I apologize for being harsh about the design of the dashboard. Nice explanation you sent in.


I am actually the developer of the bed board shown. Although at first glance it looks a bit intimidating, after 10 minutes of explanation, most units/nurses never have problems using it.

The thumbs up/down on a green cell, indicate whether the bed can be used (even though it’s available)- hovering above the cell will show the reason in a tooltip (for instance, not staffed for, or private room, bed broken, etc). The cell is green because the bed IS available, but there may be a reason it cannot be used, so a thumbs down is used with a reason displayed on hover. This is handy because it can be used for things like acuity, etc.

Although housewide data is shown, a single unit, only needs to concern themselves with a single column. For instance, 5 TOW, has their own column (it’s actually 2 columns for bed 1, bed 2)…so for the units, they only look at their columns. You can see the units listed across the top.

The symbols are pretty easy – I’s are isolation, D’s are direct admission, T’s are Transfers, the eyeball symbol is “under observation”…yellow cells are waiting for housekeeping (to be cleaned)…

After much research in the bed board area, this was a much more simple, and cost effective solution to develop in-house, than to purchase one. We have the advantage of tweaking the system to our specific needs.

The screen shot you see, is about its 10th evolution, after many “staff-suggested” features were built in.

If you have any questions about it, please don’t hesitate to email me ;-)

David Stoltz
Programming Manager
Sacred Heart Hospital 

We’ve seen a couple of different dashboards dedicated to patient management in hospitals.  They basically all show the same thing: available beds and occupied beds with the data sliced by hospital care unit. Pretty straight-forward, usually. A Dashboard Spy sent me this screenshot of the “Bed Board” used at Sacred Heart Hospital in Allentown, PA.

Enterprise dashboard for bed management at a health care facility

My head is spinning trying to figure this enterprise dashboard out. I don’t have the legend to help me, so I’m obviously at a disadvantage. However, a common enterprise dashboard design best practice is (more…)

Hospital Dashboard Project

When Grand River Hospital (a healthcare facility located in Kitchener Ontario Canada) wanted to report to management key performance indicators such as clinical efficiency and outcomes, they turned to McKesson’s consulting services and their business intelligence solution for hospitals and health systems. In this post, we examine some of the issues that the hospital dealt with in choosing their KPI’s and look at the solution provided by McKesson.

mckesson dashboard horizon business insight

The dashboard project team at the hospital had for distinct project goals:

Dashboard Indicators – Project Goals

  1. Shift manual manipulation of data into an electronic environment
  2. Provide common measures to indicate the effectiveness of our activities
  3. Increase accountability of resource utilization and quality
  4. To compare performance against benchmarks (HayGroup, accreditation standards, hospital report card, etc.)

They split the Key Performance Indicators into 5 groupings of metrics:

Indicator Groups

  1. Clinical & Operational Efficiency
  2. Patient and Staff Satisfaction
  3. Waiting Times
  4. Clinical/Service Outcomes
  5. Risk Management


Here is a look at the KPI template that they used to develop and document each of their metrics:

Dashboard KPI Metric Documentation

The Hospital Dashboard allows each metric to be understood by letting the user examine the documentation of each KPI as you see in this screenshot:

Dashboard metric template

For a PDF from the hospital that details their dashboard project, use this link:

Grand River Hospital Dashboard Project with McKesson

Here’s some info on the Mckesson Business Intelligence Solution (it’s called Horizon Business Insight or HBI Dashboard):

HBI, Horizon Business Insight is McKesson’s business intelligence solution for hospitals and health systems. HBI’s design and technology are the reasons why HBI is the industry-leading business intelligence solution. We’ll discuss some of the specifics of this further below, plus some backgorund.

McKesson’s roots in business intelligence go back almost 20 years, to the release of TRENDSTAR’s EpiTREND on-line report viewer. Subsequent development efforts have gone through five generations to bring us to HBI. You will not find a more experienced or successful group and product when it comes to handling hospital data.

HBI design objectives tackled a combination of requirements deemed important based on prior business intelligence efforts and the competitive landscape:

  1. Browser based solution for ease of deployment
  2. Capable of being managed and populated using business analyst staff
  3. Intuitive enough that web users can figure it out
  4. Capacity to handle millions of records, to the patient level and beyond
  5. Able to handle data from any source
  6. Ability to update on any basis, from occasional to throughout the day, even requesting data as needed
  7. Open SQL database access for authorized “power users”

In addtion to offering a flexible business intelligence solutiuon, McKesson has also embarked on a strategy to build HBI into practically all of its major product offerings. The McKesson standard content has been a huge success, providing a turnkey business intelligence solution and still offering the opportunity to customize and build additonal content.