Quality Dashboards

Quality Dashboards

Jeffrey P. Kanne

Business intelligence or business analytics is a field focused on mining and analyzing raw data from across many sources and presenting them in a useful manner to improve productivity, reduce inefficiencies, and identify new opportunities.1 Business intelligence has been extremely successful across many industries2 and is increasingly used in the health-care industry.3,4

Managing a radiology department requires detailed knowledge of operational, quality, safety, and fiscal information. Traditional monthly or quarterly reports are rapidly becoming a thing of the past, as the ability to aggregate data for immediate analysis is becoming or already has become a reality for many practices. Digital “dashboards” are tools that display real-time data consisting of key performance indicators (KPIs) in a useful format tailored to an individual’s specific needs. A dashboard has been defined as “a concise, context-specific display of KPIs for quick evaluation of multiple subsystems.”5 Dashboards can enable communication of the current state of a practice and can facilitate identifying specific goals for practice improvement.6


Three primary types of dashboards have been described: operational, tactical, and strategic (Table 13.1). Operational dashboards provide real-time monitoring of core operational processes. In radiology, these may include radiologist report turnaround time (TAT) and patient wait time. Tactical dashboards look at trends, with data updated less frequently, usually daily or weekly. Tactical dashboards in radiology may include access (e.g., the next available appointment for a specific exam), IV contrast extravasation rates, and patient “no-show” rates. Strategic dashboards focus on KPIs related to the overall enterprise and are used to monitor and reflect on common goals. In a radiology department, a strategic dashboard might present data on patient satisfaction, referring physician satisfaction, and financial health.


The primary reason for developing a dashboard should be focused and defined upfront. Limiting objectives can allow managers to quickly identify critical issues and allocate appropriate resources to key issues. Objectives usually fall into one of three categories: financial, operational, and quality (Table 13.2).7,8 Common financial
KPIs include cost per relative value unit (RVU), collections by modality, days in accounts receivable, actual expenses, and total revenue. Operational KPIs include total examination volume, examination volume per modality, and examination volume per location. Quality KPIs include TAT, accuracy of interpretation (peer review), correct exam, patient access, and prompt communication of critical tests and critical results.6,9


Type of Dashboard


Examples in Radiology


Real-time monitoring of core operational processes

Report turnaround time

Patient wait time


Monitor trends in operations


IV contrast extravasation Patient “no-show” rate


Monitor and reflect on enterprise goals

Patient satisfaction

Referring physician satisfaction

Financial health


Type of KPI

Examples in Radiology


Cost per relative value unit

Collections by modality

Days in accounts receivable

Actual expenses

Total revenue


Total examination volume

Examination volume by modality

Examination volume by location


Report turnaround time

Accuracy of interpretation (peer review)

Correct patient imaged

Correct exam performed

Correct side imaged

Patient access

Communication of critical tests and critical results


For a dashboard to be useful, it must contain meaningful information that can be acted upon promptly. Thus, a clear mission must be in place when designing a dashboard (Fig. 13.1). First, a team of major stakeholders should be assembled, consisting of key leaders including physicians, nurses, technologists, and information technology (IT), financial, and operations managers.10 Having representation from all aspects of a practice can ensure that common goals are set and are aligned with the goals of the overarching organization, that appropriate KPIs are included, and that functionality can meet expectations. Furthermore, investing in the initial planning stage can reduce both dashboard development time and need for redesign.11,12

FIG. 13.1Process of creating a quality dashboard. KPI, key performance indicator.

FIG. 13.2 • Example display of critical result reporting, a regulatory requirement put forth by The Joint Commission.

After assembling the dashboard design team and defining the goals of the dashboard, specific KPIs need to be selected to include on the dashboard. Chosen KPIs should be aligned to the goals of the dashboard, relevant to the specific practice, and draw from data that can be readily obtained.13,14,15 KPIs that are part of regulatory requirements, such as those needed for accreditation and credentialing, should be flagged and included on the dashboard so that these can be actively monitored and reported on (Fig. 13.2).3,13 Having too few KPIs can lead to a dashboard with little utility, whereas selecting too many KPIs can result in a dashboard that is too “busy” to be useful for review at a glance. A dashboard consisting of 15 to 25 KPIs is optimal.7

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Oct 14, 2018 | Posted by in GENERAL RADIOLOGY | Comments Off on Quality Dashboards
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