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  • Shawn Frasier

A Productivity Dashboard that Works


By Shawn Frasier

This is part 2 of our series on productivity in health care. Part 1 is here.


In our data warehousing and analytics practice, we were tasked by a client to build a dashboard that would give clinicians, supervisors and management a clear, easily understandable picture of year-to-date productivity. We took the challenge and will discuss the project in this blog entry.


We'll Look at the Following Aspects of the Project:

  • Dashboard Specifications

  • Use of Multiple Data Sources

  • Ensuring Quick Access and Clinician Usability

  • Distribution Methods

  • Dashboard Examples

  • Project Results

Dashboard Specifications

The client set forth specific requirements. The dashboard will show and compare values based on a selected time frame or Year-To-Date, and address the following:

  • Time spent by the clinician in productive activities

  • The ‘clocked-in’ clinician availability to perform work

  • A clearly-stated productivity expectation

  • Year-to-date status toward the productivity goal

  • Total yearly expectation of time at work

  • The trend of productivity values over time to see progress

  • Ability to see values within the agency management hierarchy

  • Rapid execution and support of a 500-clinician user base


Multiple Data Sources


To produce the dashboard, data must be be collected in the data warehouse from multiple sources, including:

  • The electronic medical record (EMR)

  • The time and attendance system

  • The human resource system

  • A position control system

Data was contained relational database systems, web services and automated secure FTP. Both on-premise and in the cloud.


Quick Access for Clinicians


The development goal was to create a dashboard that would render quickly, but also be understandable by providers and clinicians within a few moments of seeing the dashboard for the first time and requiring very little additional training.


In addition, to service the thousands of requests per day, the data source would need to be optimized for quick delivery and heavy demand. To accomplish this, the data is transformed and introduced into a star-schema data warehouse and then further processed into query-optimized On-line Analytical Processing (OLAP) data structures, also known as OLAP Cubes.


Accessible from Within the Health Record, on the Web or Mobile


For clinicians utilizing the Electronic Health Record, the dashboard must be quickly accessible from the EMR software, securely based on user credentials.


For other users that may not need or want to use the EMR, the dashboard needed to accessible through a web application on the desktop on a mobile device, also with secure accessibility.


Agency Hierarchy Aware


An important requirement of this dashboard is that it runs dynamically based on an agency management hierarchy maintained in a position control system. The dashboard must:

  • Only be seen by the individual running the dashboard and anyone who is a direct report to that individual

  • Work at any level, starting with the top executive

  • Indicate what level of the hierarchy is being viewed

  • Show then number of direct reports at a given hierarchy level

  • Show other required information such as hire date, tile or employee ID

  • Update automatically anytime the position control system is updated

Dashboard and Visualization Examples


The following illustrations show screenshots of a working example of the dashboard. The numbers on the screenshot correspond to the explanation.


Visualization Detail Explanation(for above graphic)


1- Time Physically at Work. Clocked-in and available to perform clinical service.

DATA SOURCE: Time clock system such as Paylocity, ADI, Dynamics GL, etc.

2- Productive Time at Work. Shows productive time in hours. DATA SOURCE: Electronic Medical Record Software, i.e., Credible, Netsmart, Nextgen, Athena

3- Total Required Service Delivery Goal. A goal set at a yearly employee evaluation for productivity. In this visualization it shows 62.5 % of 1235.75 hours spent physically at work. DATA SOURCE: Human resource system

4- Actual Service Delivery Percent. Percent calculation of the actual percentage of time at work spent in productive clinical service. DATA SOURCE: Dynamic calculation

5- Productivity Bar. Color is dynamic based on if goal from item 3, above, is met.

6- Vertical Total Required Service Delivery Goal Bar. Corresponds to the Total Required Service Delivery goal from item 3. DATA SOURCE: Dynamic calculation

7- Time Physically at Work Bar. Represents the Year-to-Date time physically present at work. Shown in grey in illustration. DATA SOURCE: Time clock or time and attendance system

8- Dotted Outline Total Yearly Work Hour Expectation. Range indicator of the employees’ total yearly hourly expectation of around 2000 hours. Gives a perspective of how many potential working hours remain in the fiscal year. DATA SOURCE: Human resource system

9- Trend Sparklines. Represent the trend year to date of the values shown in items 2 and 3. These lines indicate by color if productivity goals were met. This gives a more complete picture of how employee productivity is changing over time. Notice how in the second bullet chart, productivity goals are not being met overall, but the trend over time is positive and the green segments of the bar indicate that recent pay periods have met productivity goals. Very important data for a supervisor. DATA SOURCE: All and dynamic calculations

10- Hierarchy Information Area and Click to Detail Area. The report runs based on a dynamic hierarchy from the agency position control system. Also show pertinent employee information ad hierarchy level. This area can be clicked to drill down to additional detail. DATA SOURCE: Position Control System


Project Results


After a successful design and development process with the client, this dashboard was released to the users and was immediately in high demand. After nearly 5 years in production it is a top destination of the agencies’ 500 providers; often daily. It has increased productivity over 30+%, creating a real and demonstrable return on investment.

This dashboard demonstrates the benefits of a well-conceived productivity initiative that includes clear specifications, accessible data, and understandable visuals.

There is an ocean of data our there. Dive in and find the information that can make your enterprise thrive!


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