An Electronic Dashboard to Monitor Patient Flow at the Johns Hopkins Hospital: Communication of Key Performance Indicators Using the Donabedian Model

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Journal of Medical Systems


Efforts to monitoring and managing hospital capacity depend on the ability to extract relevant time-stamped data from electronic medical records and other information technologies. However, the various characterizations of patient flow, cohort decisions, sub-processes, and the diverse stakeholders requiring data visibility create further overlying complexity. We use the Donabedian model to prioritize patient flow metrics and build an electronic dashboard for enabling communication. Ten metrics were identified as key indicators including outcome (length of stay, 30-day readmission, operating room exit delays, capacity-related diversions), process (timely inpatient unit discharge, emergency department disposition), and structural metrics (occupancy, discharge volume, boarding, bed assignation duration). Dashboard users provided real-life examples of how the tool is assisting capacity improvement efforts, and user traffic data revealed an uptrend in dashboard utilization from May to October 2017 (26 to 148 views per month, respectively). Our main contributions are twofold. The former being the results and methods for selecting key performance indicators for a unit, department, and across the entire hospital (i.e., separating signal from noise). The latter being an electronic dashboard deployed and used at The Johns Hopkins Hospital to visualize these ten metrics and communicate systematically to hospital stakeholders. Integration of diverse information technology may create further opportunities for improved hospital capacity.