PPL’s top tips for developing data dashboards and reporting  

posted 19 June 2020 in category General

Rarely, if ever, has the value of data to inform decision-making in health and social care been as clear as it is today. Tune in to any of the Government’s daily briefings and you will be met with ‘lab-confirmed UK cases’, ‘COVID-19 associated UK deaths’, ‘R numbers’ and, of course, daily tests. You are left in little doubt that these numbers are directly impacting our daily lives.  

At PPL, we have over ten years of experience in the provision of analytical support to health and social care teams. We understand both the value of data in informing key decisions and the importance of taking a collaborative approach to analytics in order to maximise understanding and impact. Our recent involvement in the development of the NHS Seacole Centre Performance Dashboard reflects this approach. 

In her recent blog, PPL’s Associate Director Katie Lansdell highlighted our work with the system leaders in Surrey, who successfully delivered a new 300-bed community hospital, the NHS Seacole Centre at Headley Court, in a matter of weeks. This work included developing a performance dashboard to ensure that the Seacole Centre responds to the ever-changing nature of the local situation in the best way possible.  

The dashboard provides visibility of quality, patient flow, patient experience, workforce and finances. It allows managers to see that the service is caring for the right people at the right time and delivering high quality, cost-effective care that is aligned to people’s needs. 

 At the heart of the development of the dashboard is a performance board that was established to manage the successful delivery of the Seacole Centre. The membership of this board draws on the widest possible set of relevant insights. It includes the Executive in charge of the development, data owners and members of the local BI team. It meets regularly and has a clear purpose.  

 Between them, the members of the board have been able to develop a set of guiding principles which have been central to shaping the dashboard:  

  • Developed using an iterative approach – the board agreed that the dashboard would need to go through further iterations and improvements over time 

  • Familiar to users - existing metrics and formats already familiar from similar facilities locally were to be used, wherever possible 

  • A single dashboard to meet the requirements of several audiences –  some domains would be more relevant to some members of the audience than others, but a single dashboard improved visibility and shared understanding 

  • Based on a wide range of metrics – metrics should include those required by the contract as well as those which are useful for some aspect of managing the facility. 

To achieve these aims, the board ensured that the development team were fully sighted on key local documentation, notably contract requirements and equalities impact assessments. They also ensured that a review of reporting elsewhere in the system was undertaken. 

Successfully opening the doors of the Seacole Centre, so rapidly, was a proud achievement for the local system that was widely recognised in the media. Successful management of the facility going forwards presents new and complex challenges. The collaborative approach taken to the development of the performance dashboard should ensure that they are armed with the best possible information to make this an achievable goal.