REVIEWER: David E. Lee, DVM, MBA, hospital director of the Veterinary Medical Center for the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine.

BACKGROUND: The University of Minnesota's Veterinary Medical Center is the largest and busiest veterinary teaching hospital in the country, with more than 60 veterinary specialists in 13 different specialties. The VMC provides world-class specialty and primary care to more than 40,000 patients a year and supports the college's nationally recognized clinical research and teaching programs.

PLATFORM: MS Server 2003.

PROBLEM SOLVED: The hospital's strategic plan employs a balanced scorecard system with key performance indicators representing five different perspectives. The hospital has a commercially available electronic medical record system (UVIS) used by several veterinary teaching hospitals and capable of generating complex reports through database queries. We wanted to make UVIS information, as well as data from several university systems, more accessible, understandable and transparent throughout the organization so we could be sure faculty clinicians and staff were focused on our key drivers for success. This was particularly critical during fiscal year 2009 when the recession reduced demand for high-level specialty veterinary care. The hospital relied on accurate, up-to-the-minute information made readily available through its iDashboards system to make quick, informed decisions as the situation continually changed.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: We use iDashboards to communicate our KPIs and progress toward goals at the hospital, service and doctor levels. In addition, the product's notification system calls attention to issues that otherwise might be overlooked in a busy service.

STRENGTHS: The product is extremely flexible and able to pull data from virtually any number of sources completely seamlessly. Once set up - which is fairly simple - the software pulls and displays data effortlessly, limited only by the accuracy of the organization's databases.

WEAKNESSES: The package was somewhat limited initially in the types of graphs and custom features it offered. Regular updates have greatly improved that capacity and the company definitely listens to its users.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Product demos on the Web site showed it would meet our needs, and the price point met our requirements.

DELIVERABLES: iDashboards provides reports that can be as simple or as complicated as you want. Our main page is a 40,000-ft level of our most critical drivers, but almost every chart allows the user to drill down to greater detail with a simple click of the mouse. If a manager wants to utilize the data for modeling or some other use, the dashboard makes it simple to download the data into Excel. Security functions make it very easy to restrict user-defined areas of the dashboard, although we chose early on not to do that. The notification system, which has the ability to send email or other messages to users when metrics meet user-defined levels, has great potential in a busy organization.

VENDOR SUPPORT: The vendor's support has been excellent at every step. One of the biggest challenges of a dashboard system is ensuring that you are looking at the right metrics. The company provides that level of support if needed. The IT support, including regular updates, has been outstanding.

DOCUMENTATION: Our IT department found the product extremely easy to implement and the documentation sufficient for most purposes. For more detailed questions, the support staff at iDashboards was excellent.


5750 New King Street, Suite 101

Troy, MI 48098

(248) 952-0840

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