Methods to visualise patient safety data can support effective monitoring of safety events and discovery of trends. While quality dashboards are common, use and impact of dashboards to visualise patient safety event data remains poorly understood.
To understand development, use and direct or indirect impacts of patient safety dashboards.
We conducted a systematic review in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines. We searched PubMed, EMBASE and CINAHL for publications between 1 January 1950 and 30 August 2018 involving use of dashboards to display data related to safety targets defined by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's Patient Safety Net. Two reviewers independently reviewed search results for inclusion in analysis and resolved disagreements by consensus. We collected data on development, use and impact via standardised data collection forms and analysed data using descriptive statistics.
Literature search identified 4624 results which were narrowed to 33 publications after applying inclusion and exclusion criteria and consensus across reviewers. Publications included only time series and case study designs and were inpatient focused and emergency department focused. Information on direct impact of dashboards was limited, and only four studies included informatics or human factors principles in development or postimplementation evaluation.
Use of patient-safety dashboards has grown over the past 15 years, but impact remains poorly understood. Dashboard design processes rarely use informatics or human factors principles to ensure that the available content and navigation assists task completion, communication or decision making.
Design and usability evaluation of patient safety dashboards should incorporate informatics and human factors principles. Future assessments should also rigorously explore their potential to support patient safety monitoring including direct or indirect impact on patient safety.