Visual analytics is the science of analytical reasoning supported by interactive visual interfaces called dashboards. In this report, we describe our experience addressing the challenges in visual analytics of anesthesia electronic health record (EHR) data using a commercially available business intelligence (BI) platform. As a primary outcome, we discuss some performance metrics of the dashboards, and as a secondary outcome, we outline some operational enhancements and financial savings associated with deploying the dashboards.
Data were transferred from the EHR to our departmental servers using several parallel processes. A custom structured query language (SQL) query was written to extract the relevant data fields and to clean the data. Tableau was used to design multiple dashboards for clinical operation, performance improvement, and business management.
Before deployment of the dashboards, detailed case counts and attributions were available for the operating rooms (ORs) from perioperative services; however, the same level of detail was not available for non-OR locations. Deployment of the yearly case count dashboards provided near-real–time case count information from both central and non-OR locations among multiple campuses, which was not previously available. The visual presentation of monthly data for each year allowed us to recognize seasonality in case volumes and adjust our supply chain to prevent shortages. The dashboards highlighted the systemwide volume of cases in our endoscopy suites, which allowed us to target these supplies for pricing negotiations, with an estimated annual cost savings of $250,000. Our central venous pressure (CVP) dashboard enabled us to provide individual practitioner feedback, thus increasing our monthly CVP checklist compliance from approximately 92% to 99%.
The customization and visualization of EHR data are both possible and worthwhile for the leveraging of information into easily comprehensible and actionable data for the improvement of health care provision and practice management. Limitations inherent to EHR data presentation make this customization necessary, and continued open access to the underlying data set is essential.