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 to make things crystal clear without forcing reliance on a legend (or else keep the legend open at all times). I’m forced to rate this one low for ease of use and design. For example, look closely and you’ll see that there are thumbs-up and thumbs-down icons. Why are both of them on a green cell? Shouldn’t thumbs-down mean red? I dunno. Let me be charitable and suggest that maybe once you get trained in its use, this dashboard can quickly provide a sense of many datapoints. I’d hate to think however that in a medical environment, patient data is so difficult to understand without training.