MedStar Researchers Use Visualization Dashboards to Enhance Situation Awareness of COVID-19 Telehealth Initiatives

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A collaborative team of researchers from across MedStar Health published a case report which examined the need for improved situation awareness of all telehealth operations to effectively monitor and proactively manage patient experience, healthcare provider experience, and platform performance.  The team included investigators from MedStar Health National Center for Human Factors in Healthcare, MedStar Health Research Institute, MedStar Simulation Training and Education Lab, MedStar Telehealth Innovation Center, and Georgetown University School of Medicine.

“Rapid Development of Visualization Dashboards to Enhance Situation Awareness of COVID-19 Telehealth Initiatives at a Multi-Hospital Healthcare System” was published in Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association.  The COVID-19 pandemic has required the need for prompt acceleration of telehealth programs to lessen community spread while providing safe patient care.  The researchers used a situation awareness model and five-step process to identify operational end-user needs, along with design and develop visualizations to meet those needs.  Three stakeholder groups (healthcare system executives, telehealth leaders, and telehealth managers) were identified and provided with visualization dashboards to seek their relative needs.

The multidisciplinary visualization team used a five-step process to support the launch and ongoing development of the telehealth program. The five steps were:

  • Subject Matter Expert Interviews to Increase Domain Knowledge
  • User Needs Analysis and Feature Identification
  • Processing Telehealth Data Sources
  • Visualization Design, Development, and Testing
  • Dissemination and Iterative Refinement

The results show that executive stakeholders needed weekly awareness of high-level metrics and trends to convey telehealth activity across the MedStar Health system. Telehealth leaders requested daily awareness of key operational indicators to monitor telehealth operations.  Telehealth managers and team members needed detailed information about their respective areas with the ability to diagnose where issues such as increased patient volumes, poor patient experiences, or dropped calls were occurring.

User feedback suggests the visualizations improved situational awareness and may have provided valuable information to better inform operational decisions. In the future, the researchers plan to improve data accessibility and gather more feedback from end-users for dashboard optimization.

The study team included Raj M. Ratwani, PhD; Ethan Booker, M.D; Ram A. Dixit, M.S; Stephen Hurst, Katharine T. Adams, Christian Boxley, Kristi Lysen-Hendershot, and Sonita S. Bennett, M.S.

Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, DOI: 10.1093/jamia/ocaa161/5866982