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The Value of Dashboards

July 12, 2017



Govindh speaks with Nigel Ellis of IMBA Medical, where Nigel is responsible for all practice efficiency products. 


In terms of practice efficiency tools, a dashboard is a visual (pictoral, colour coded) display of your status - in the moment - using predictive, leading indicators.


According to Nigel, the key to the dashboard is having your data presented in such a way that it has meaning to you.  The data is organized according to indicator type (leading or lagging), and is also organized around processes.  Your goal is to ensure that the series of activities within a process is working according to a measure that you have in mind, and you want to see the data in such a way that you don’t have to keep analyzing it.  With the dashboard, you can read it at a glance and know what’s going on.  It’s a heads up display that allows your day to day decisions to be tactical rather than strategic.


In establishing your dashboard parameters initially, the information and data need to be displayed so that you know in advance what it’s going to look like and what your thresholds and boundaries are.  Once it’s set however, every time you glance at the dashboard, you can know instantly where you are.

The dashboard also allows for longer term strategic assessment in order to make improvements. Using the data collected over time, you can incrementally improve what you’re doing, without having to spend a lot of time at it.


The dashboard itself should also evolve.  Nigel suggests that every quarter, you sit back and reassess what needs to be measured or brought into visibility.  Summarize what’s been done, simplify the indicators, and refine for new data measurements in new areas of concern or importance.

When dealing with limited resources, practice efficiency becomes even more vital, and dashboards are a quick, simple way of obtaining it in a repeatable process, by allowing you to monitor your activities without detracting from what you’re already doing.

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