Reply To: Discussion 1 (DTDW21)

Home Forums From Data to Dashboards Winter 2021 Discussion 1 (DTDW21) Reply To: Discussion 1 (DTDW21)

Jane Carpenter

I agree with others who have suggested that the WHO maternity dashboard at the Mpilo Central Hospital meets Stephen Few’s definition of a dashboard but could be substantially improved to support decision-making in the hospital. The WHO dashboard does display important information on a single screen to achieve the objective of improving maternal and perinatal clinical outcomes. The information displayed could be considered a “high-level summary” in that it shows change over time for a number of indicators without providing additional details about how and why any changes might have occurred. The table does concisely display the data, but this display format is not optimal for quick decision-making, as others have pointed out. Compared to, for example, widgets or metric boxes that display key indicators individually, the table used in this dashboard takes longer to visually process, because it requires that the user visually move between the left side of the screen (where the performance measures are listed) and the right side of the screen, which displays the most recent month of data. Additionally, the authors noted that the dashboard was printed, but that no color printer was available at the hospital; the use of gray-scale would potentially make it even more challenging for the user to make quick assessments at a glance. The tool therefore might not meet Few’s “customized” criterion in that the visual elements were designed without consideration of limitations of the local environment, such as the lack of color printing.