In a health crisis such as the coronavirus pandemic, there’s a lot that feels uncontrollable. And rightfully so. But for healthcare providers and their institutions that are treating COVID-19 patients, there are some steps that can be taken to get a better handle on the situation before them.

An organization’s data is a powerful tool that can be used to better understand patient flow and census – and this is especially valuable during a pandemic. How can you harness that data and present it in an accessible way for your entire care team? Here are some tips for what you should include on your COVID-19 dashboard.

Important measures for a hospital-specific dashboard

When you’re creating a dashboard for your hospital or health system, there are certain measures (KPIs) you’ll want to track. These include:

  • COVID-19 Visits: How many people in total are coming to your hospital? This is something you’ll want to track daily and view over time to see whether the local situation is worsening or getting better.
  • COVID-19 Admits: This will be a subset of your visits, encompassing those patients that are actually admitted to inpatient status.
  • COVID-19 ALOS: For those patients who are admitted, how long are they staying?
  • COVID-19 Discharges: What is the recovery rate for your patients? Once the number starts going up, it can provide a positive piece of news to your providers.
  • COVID-19 Mortality: How many COVID-19 patients died? You could also include a percentage of total visits or of people who were admitted.
  • COVID-19 Population: What are the total COVID-19 population numbers in your coverage area? This can give you a sense as to the situation outside your four walls.

What are other critical measures to examine?

In addition, there are certain non-COVID-19-specific measures hospitals and health systems will want to keep extra tabs on, as they are related to care the organization can provide to critical patients. These include:

  • ED measures on throughput and volume: These will show how many ED patients you have in the hospital and how quickly you are getting them through various checkpoints.
  • ICU measures on volume and utilization: How many patients are being admitted to your ICU? What percent of your beds are being utilized? How many patients are on ventilators, and what is the average number of days they are on the ventilator? These numbers will help you not only in the moment, but will also help you with capacity planning if observed trends continue.

Other visualizations you’ll want to include

In addition to keeping close track of the measures above, there are some other visualizations that will keep you well-informed during the pandemic.

Heatmap: You can create a heatmap on confirmed cases on a county/state level, as well as national and international levels. This will help you keep tabs on how your area is faring in relation to others in your state or around the country. Below is an example of a heat map at the ZIP code level. (Please note, this is illustrative only, and was not created specifically with COVID-19 numbers.) If you’re looking for some good sources of COVID-19 numbers, you can check out our previous blog post on “How Data Visualization Can Help During the Coronavirus Pandemic.”

Trends over time: How are your institution’s patient numbers changing over time? Are cases increasing logarithmically or are they flattening off? It will be important to be able to compare numbers not only day by day, but also week by week and month by month.

We’re here to help

At Dimensional Insight, we have many of these measures already baked into Diver Platform and our applications suite. We also have our team of consultants who can work with customers on creating a dashboard suited to their organization, so customers should not hesitate to get in touch if there’s something they need.

As always, our customers are our top priority, and we remain committed to ensuring they are able to gain the insight that will improve outcomes – which is critical now more than ever.

Kathy Sucich
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