Visual Displays It’s Not About The Box

Visual Displays It’s Not About The Box – Nice description from Group Health Cooperative, with photos, of how they don’t use electronic dashboards to convey information. Worth a look.


I don't understand why these are given as examples of how these physical objects in 2 dimensions (three if you count the color) are better than computer based displays. Looking at the overall display it looks like a mind mapping application would be better than a 'dashboard' for sorting and organizing things. There was a comparison to what can be done with a spreadsheet but that would be like comparing a screwdriver to a hammer and then saying that a screwdriver works better. There are very impressive ways of displaying data but very few people use them preferring to do what they can with the tools they know. The really nice visual display applications are often very expensive although there are some open source applications.

Hi Raymond,

Your last statement encapsulates why this approach is waayyyyy better – these organizations have the capability and resources to develop the most impressive computerized displays, and they have all done it in the past.

When they study the LEAN/Toyota Management System approach they learn (a) not to do this and (b) retire as many of these computerized applications as possible. Why? Over time, the amount of time and money devoted to creating and maintaining these systems quickly obscures the work that they are trying to measure and drive. The mantra is "not another database, not another spreadsheet, focus on the customer."

If you have seen or worked with any of these simple approaches in action, you'll know why they are more effective – nothing to log into, no password to remember, no training to provide, just walk past and know instantly how things are going,


Ted Eytan, MD