Microsoft Dynamics CRM dashboards display critical data at a glance
3:14pm - 04/23/2014
Dashboards are very good visual/graphical analytical tools that provide a central point of summary information in an easy to read and understand format in real-time for quick and actionable decision making. 

Dashboards are a key feature of Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Developers and IT enthusiasts spend many man hours, splicing, slicing and dicing data to avail management with the aim of providing an accurate up-to-date  "snapshot" of the state of affairs in the organisation at a glance. However, getting the dashboard data right in the healthcare sector can mean life or death.

Dashboard Data
The colourful graphs displaying varying colourful data-sets are critical in healthcare. The healthcare sector demands that good data goes into healthcare systems if the human life ecosystem is to avoid health epidemics as has been witnessed in recent history in the case of ebola and HN1 flu. Good data provides readable graphs or charts that lead to prompt decision making. 

Suffice to say graphing tools have been around, especially with the advent of spreadsheet tools like Cicero, Lotus 123 and or MS Excel, for a while, but countless organisations are known to have gone out of business for ignoring them. Despite the speedometer lingering in the red zone, or the forecast graph trending in the opposite wrong direction, a call to change direction was never made, but this does not form the basis of this discussion, and could lead to arguments that would go on till the sun falls down. Regardless, the key is to respond to the warning data on the dashboard promptly. 

Healthcare Hotspot
Some of the greatest challenges with healthcare is that disease sources range from water, earth/dirt, air bourne and also crossing from animals to human and human to human. This multitude of vector sources pause a challenge to healthcare providers, requiring efficient capability to capture and analyse all these sources of data, and aptly present it timely, extrapolating complexities like root causes, sources of the problem, impact and threat paused including risk of spreading so as to effect prompt and effective preventive action. 

Capturing causative factors of a disease especially in case of an outbreak is still a challenge today. Even more sad is the accurate reporting of cause of death. A lot of this is misreported, the level of misdiagnosis is under-reported, yet if correct data is captured and fed into dashboards, constrained resources can be directed to where they are needed most, to take corrective action. There was a time when all signs of vomiting or diarrhoea were attributed to HIV, and many HIV negative souls perished. Fortunately great improvements in awareness and diagnosis have reversed this.

Response Strategy
Microsoft Dynamics CRM is an Enterprise class technology. Its customisable capabilities need to be exploited to the full. For instance, Balanced Scorecards data embedded in dashboards that show measures falling short of targets enable clinicians take a combination of proactive corrective action early, saving and prolonging lives as opposed to firefighting and resultant loss of lives or degraded quality of life. 

Good incident spatial data, entered at the earliest available opportunity is crucial in case of a health epidemic outbreak. If Operational Intelligence is also used, containment measures are more effective. This data type should also be pushed into an alert pipeline like text, fax, email, beeper and emergency notification routes for prompt action and two way feedback. 

It's also vital to exploit the integration capability of the technolpgy with external monitors and sensors for more accurate data results in real-time.  Within the Microsoft Dynamics CRM dashboards, results based measures can also be displayed based on CRM goals. Benchmarking can also be designed into the dashboard. Benchmarking health facilities ensures, those that are under performing strive, through various achievable improvement measures to reach their peer standard.

The ability to forecast events can be increased if dashboards collect relevant data in time. In addition they are invaluable tools when it comes to timely emergency response if accessible to relevant staff.

Dashboard Team
The graphs and indicators availed on the dashboard is information that should be acted on quickly and effectively. For instance, an emergency situation may arise and in responding to it, resources may be found in short supply in specific skills areas. The cholera outbreak after the Haiti earthquake highlighted a shortage of Doctors to treat sufferers and this led to a training drive to increase specialist in treating cholera in Haiti.

Dashboards are worth their weight in gold, if they are well designed and availed to those that are supposed to act on them. This dashboard team should also have it's own command and control structure, with enough resources to act at a moments notice and have the ability to identify resource management, availability and replenishment issues.
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