Introduction Performance data can be used to monitor and guide interventions aimed at improving the quality and safety of patient care. To use performance data effectively, nurses need to understand how to interpret and use data in meaningful ways to guide practice. Dashboards are interactive computerised tools that display performance data. In one large, urban teaching hospital in Toronto, Canada, unit-specific dashboards were implemented across the organisation.
Methods A qualitative study was undertaken to explore the perceptions and experiences of front-line nurses and managers associated with the implementation of a unit-level dashboard. Six units were selected to participate in the study. Data were analysed using a directed content analysis approach.
Results The sample included 56 study participants, including 51 front-line nurses and 5 unit managers. Three key themes emerged around nurses’ and unit managers’ perspectives on the implementation of unit-specific dashboards. Nurses and managers described that the Care Utilising Evidence dashboard was a visual tool that displayed data on the impact of the nursing care provided to patients. This tool also was used by the nurses and managers to keep track of processes of care and patient outcomes and experiences at a unit level. Further, nurses were able to use performance data to identify quality care improvements specific to their unit.
Conclusions The results highlight how unit-specific dashboards are being used to monitor performance and drive quality improvement efforts from the perspectives of nurses and unit managers. In practice, nurse leaders may consider investing in dashboards as a quality improvement strategy to optimise the use of performance data at their organisations.
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