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FCW : May 30, 2013
May 30, 2013 FCW.COM 23 Health IT Dashboard: Insight into industry improvements The Department of Health and Human Services of cially launched the rst version of its Health IT Dashboard about a year ago to offer a one-stop shop for people interested in health IT and the impact it is having on the health care industry. It lets the interested public know the impact and bene ts of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and delivers greater insight into the activities of grant recipients, state and federal agencies, and other stakeholders, said Victor Lazzaro, project director for the Health IT Dashboard at HHS Of ce of the National Coordinator for Health IT. Among its offerings, the dashboard allows users to generate maps of health IT adoption statistics, such as how many providers are using electronic health records and what states are offering courses in health IT through their community colleges. It also provides statistics on how grant money is being spent nationwide and how well states are meeting meaningful-use goals for EHRs. More than just a place to nd data, the dashboard is speeding the adoption and use of health IT, Lazzaro said. "We re not just summarizing data, " he added. "We think people can look at the data and use it to amplify and accelerate their own efforts. " Most of the data is updated monthly, and the dashboard is built on open- source software so it is cheaper to maintain, Lazzaro said. In the next six to 12 months, he plans to add more datasets and enable better visual comparisons. To create a good IT dashboard, start by priori- tizing your organization s requirements, said Jason Wolan, professional services manager at vendor iDashboards. 1. Decide what metrics and key performance indicators you will use to measure perfor- mance, but keep it simple. "Don t bite off more than you can chew, " he said. For instance, as agencies move to cloud technology, "one of the best things a dashboard can do is keep tabs on service-level agreements and make sure they re being met, " Wolan said. 2. Put together a strong team and cover all your bases. "If you need...to nd a subject- matter expert, then get them involved, " Wolan said. 3. Make sure you are gathering the right information and that what you are publishing is an accurate re ection of your business. 4. Decide how you are going to use that data to improve your performance --- something Wolan called a post-deployment strategy. BUILDING A BETTER DASHBOARD and accountability dashboard that tracks whether each IT project is meet- ing its milestones and aggregates the relevant data into a single view. "At VA, it s an important piece of how we man- age because it tells us the status of our IT portfolio," said Baker, who became chief strategy of cer at Agilex in April. That data also feeds into the federal IT Dashboard, which Baker said has done a decent job of shining a light on problem programs. "The IT Dash- board has not by itself xed the entire problem, but it is motivating agencies to make changes, which means that they are managing better, more tightly," he added. "If an agency receives a red grade, then they know someone will come and ask questions." Stan Soloway, president and CEO of the Professional Services Council, said that although dashboards can be useful, they can t do all the work for agencies. A dashboard won t help leaders make better management decisions if the information is not timely or the business rules are weak. "And knowing that the program is not going accord- ing to plan isn t enough," he said. "You need to know why." In other words, a dashboard "doesn t eliminate the need for real analysis," Soloway said. "It s a good tool to help you nd it, but you have to dig deeper." Allen said a good IT dashboard requires a certain amount of central management, which can be tough for agencies to do. But overall, "I think it s more effective to have dashboards than not," he said. "It s better than y- ing totally in the dark. But there is a difference between a dashboard and a GPS." ■
May 15, 2013
June 15, 2013