Innovative dashboard architecture empowers real-time decision making

So, like other providers across the globe, this Midwestern academic medical center needed to find a way to manage the quickly escalating public health crisis.

Innovative dashboard architecture empowers real-time decision making

Most healthcare provider organizations were unprepared to handle the demand surge when COVID-19 surfaced in 2020. Indeed, hospitals were under siege as they were filling up quickly with highly contagious patients. So, like other providers across the globe, this Midwestern academic medical center needed to find a way to manage the quickly escalating public health crisis.

More specifically, leaders wanted to better handle patient volume and flow as an influx of patients put their existing emergency departments and clinics at max capacity. At the same time, they needed to expertly manage supply chain issues, specifically those related to personal protection equipment (PPE) such as gloves and N96 respirators, which were in high demand as healthcare workers, patients and community members were clamoring to don these materials to protect themselves from the rapidly spreading virus.

To accomplish this, the organization partnered with EXL Health to create a centralized dashboard that could provide quick and easy access to the information that could help staff members make the best clinical, operational and supply chain decisions on the go.


To create this dashboard, leaders realized that they would need to pull data from its behemoth electronic medical records systems as well as from a variety of other internal and external systems. Each of these systems, unfortunately, operated with a different architecture and housed data in various formats. The healthcare organization also needed to add metrics to the dashboard as the pandemic continued to evolve. For example, when vaccines became available, the hospital needed to add vaccination status to the mix.

To quickly move forward, though, EXL Health worked with hospital staff members to:

  • Quickly develop an architecture to integrate data from 25 different application systems including EMR, ERP, HR, supply chain, quality, external data, etc.
  • Develop a natural language processing framework to identify COVID-19 symptoms from doctor’s notes.
  • Overcome the lack of visibility on key utilization metrics such as overall inpatient/outpatient clinic volumes and COVID test results through various sources, requiring creating new metrics from scratch.

Working with EXL Health, hospital leaders developed a dashboard architecture that could access, integrate and then display data in a meaningful way, for leaders to make informed and quick decisions.

Implementation approach


EXL Health worked to create a centralized dashboard that could provide quick and easy access to information that could help staff make the best clinical, operational, and supply chain decisions on the go.

To make the guidance offered by the dashboard even more valuable, EXL Health leveraged advanced analytics to come up with predictions based on this information. More specifically, the team relied on cTakes™, a natural language processing system for extraction of clinical information from EMR free-text to create an algorithm that predicts which patients will test positive for COVID-19 based on symptoms exhibited and doctor notes. As such, hospital staff can take patients who appear to have a significant probability of having the virus immediately to the COVID-19 admission center where a test can be administered. The end result: These patients more quickly receive needed services and enter into quarantine, thereby decreasing the spread of the disease.

While built to handle the COVID-19 pandemic, the architecture is extremely flexible and offers the capability to support similar response systems for other diseases, pandemics, mass casualties or emergency situations.


In just three weeks, EXL Health, working closely with hospital staff, created a dashboard that tracks more than 100 COVID-19 metrics. As a result, staff members are now able to make critical decisions in near real-time.

Some of the data points included in the dashboard are:

  • COVID-19 positive patients
  • COVID-19 negative patients
  • COVID-19 positive patients who require hospitalization
  • COVID-19 positive patients who don’t require hospitalization
  • COVID-19 patients discharged
  • COVID-19 positive cases trend
  • COVID-19 positive admissions trend
  • COVID-19 positive patients in the hospital
  • COVID-19 negative patients in the hospital
  • COVID-19 positive patients by demographics
  • COVID-19 positive map view
  • COVID-19 patients by department
  • COVID-19 tests undertaken
  • Vaccination status of employees
  • Vaccination outreach program status

With the dashboard in place, staff members can:

  • Effectively make quick decisions on clinical and non-clinical resources.
  • Accurately track the vaccination status of both patients and employees.
  • Better manage patient capacity. In fact, the statistics not only provided insight into the number of beds available but also made it possible to zero in on important variables such as if the parking lot had the capacity to handle the influx of cars that would come with a spike in patients.
  • Proactively manage PPE. With the dashboard offering insight into supply chain data, advanced orders were placed with vendors, making it possible to contain any shortfalls in gloves, masks and other vital equipment.
  • Collect and report on the metrics required by both state and federal public health agencies on a regular basis.
  • Predict which patients are likely to be diagnosed with COVID-19 based on the symptoms exhibited and doctor notes.

The EXL Health difference

EXL brought both technology expertise and the domain knowledge to the table to develop this custom solution. Because the EXL team understood the business problem, the clinical challenges and the data and visualization tools needed to successfully build the dashboard, they were able to partner with hospital staff to quickly produce the solution.

In addition, EXL developed this solution by using existing tools such as SQL, Tableau and Azure. As such, the academic medical center did not have to spend money on new products and licensing. Indeed, because EXL custom built the dashboard, the academic medical center gets exactly what is needed to meet specific challenges, not a product that offers a plethora of tools and features that will never be utilized.

Why EXL Health?

At EXL Health, we are committed to a true partnership with our clients. We are passionate about your success. We take a client-centric, collaborative approach to every engagement. We combine deep domain expertise with analytic insights and technology-enabled services to transform how care is delivered, managed and paid. Leveraging Human Ingenuity, we collaborate with our clients to solve complex problems and enhance their performance with nimble, scalable solutions. With data on more than 260 million lives, we work with hundreds of organizations across the healthcare ecosystem.