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J Healthc Manag. 2015 Sep-Oct;60(5):319-30.

Integrating Strategic and Operational Decision Making Using Data-Driven Dashboards: The Case of St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital.


Hospitals have invested and continue to invest heavily in building information systems to support operations at various levels of administration. These systems generate a lot of data but fail to effectively convert these data into actionable information for decision makers. Such ineffectiveness often is attributed to a lack of alignment between strategic planning and information technology (IT) initiatives supporting operational goals. We present a case study that illustrates how the use of digital dashboards at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland (SJMO) Hospital in Pontiac, Michigan, was instrumental in supporting such an alignment. Driven by a focus on key performance indicators (KPIs), dashboard applications also led to other tangible and intangible benefits. An ability to track KPIs over time and against established targets, with drill-down capabilities, allowed leadership to hold staff members accountable for achieving their performance targets. By displaying the dashboards in prominent locations (such as operational unit floors, the physicians' cafeteria, and nursing stations), SJMO ushered in transparency in the planning and monitoring processes. The need to develop KPI metrics and drive data collection efforts became ingrained in the work ethos of people at every level of the organization. Although IT-enabled dashboards have been instrumental in supporting this cultural transformation, the focus of investment was the ability of technology to make collective vision and action the responsibility of all stakeholders.

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