Clinical dashboard development and use for academic detailing in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2019 Mar-Apr;59(2S):S96-S103.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2018.12.006. Epub 2019 Feb 1.


Objective: To describe the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Academic Detailing Service's (ADS) experience with the development and use of clinical dashboards across the VA's national clinical campaigns. We focused only on dashboards developed by the VA ADS national clinical program managers.

Setting: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Pharmacy Benefits Management National Academic Detailing Service.

Practice description: Academic detailing is a multifaceted, educational outreach intervention that services providers through interactions with academic detailers (at the VA, these are specially trained clinical pharmacy specialists) using evidence-based research, educational brochures, and clinical dashboards to align prescribing behavior with best practices. The VA ADS developed clinical dashboards to benchmark and monitor academic detailing activities and performance and to identify opportunities for redistributing resources. We used the opioid crisis as an example to highlight key steps in the development of a clinical dashboard.

Evaluation: Testing is an important part of clinical dashboard development. Evaluations of the users perceptions contributed to lessons learned.

Results: Data validation, missing data, data availability, standardization, user engagement, and technical limitations were among several challenges the VA ADS encountered during dashboard development. Stakeholder engagement, communication, and flexibility with development time allowed us to develop efficient dashboards.

Conclusions: Health care data and health analytics have transformed the type of clinical care that can be practiced by creating the ability to implement system-wide processes for both population management and quality improvement processes. End users of these VA ADS clinical dashboards can generate priority panel reports and data visualization of key performance indicators to identify areas for improvement or action.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Organizational Innovation
  • Pharmacy Service, Hospital
  • Physicians
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Program Development / methods*
  • Quality Improvement
  • Quality Indicators, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Research Report
  • United States
  • United States Department of Veterans Affairs
  • Veterans