Clinical dashboards: impact on workflow, care quality, and patient safety

Marie Egan
Critical Care Nursing Quarterly 2006, 29 (4): 354-61
There is a vast array of technical data that is continuously generated within the intensive care unit environment. In addition to physiological monitors, there is information being captured by the ventilator, intravenous infusion pumps, medication dispensing units, and even the patient's bed. The ability to retrieve and synchronize data is essential for both clinical documentation and real-time problem solving for individual patients and the intensive care unit population as a whole. Technical advances that permit the integration of all relevant data into a singular display or "dashboard" may improve staff efficiency, accelerate decisions, streamline workflow processes, and reduce oversights and errors in clinical practice. Critical care nurses must coordinate all aspects of care for one or more patients. Clinical data are constantly being retrieved, documented, analyzed, and communicated to others, all within the daily routine of nursing care. In addition, many bedside monitors and devices have alarms systems that must be evaluated throughout the workday, and actions taken on the basis of the patient's condition and other data. It is obvious that the complexity within such care processes presents many potential opportunities for overlooking important details. The capability to systematically and logically link physiological monitors and other selected data sets into a cohesive dashboard system holds tremendous promise for improving care quality, patient safety, and clinical outcomes in the intensive care unit.

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