This systematic review aimed to identify the functional and non-functional requirements and challenges of using dashboards in hospital settings. Based on the findings, reporting, customization, reminders, assessment of performance indicators, alert creation, and tracking were identified as the functional requirements. Similar studies have reported monitoring, collection, analysis, performance measurement, and reporting as the main functional requirements [75, 76]. In a study by Buttigieg et al., monitoring, analysis, alerts, and color coding were described as the main functional requirements . Besides, Ghazi Saeedi et al. found alarms, drill down, and timely presentation as the central features of dashboards . Other proposed features of dashboards include forecasting, scenario analysis, and bookmarking [12, 78].
Previous studies found speed, security, ease of use, and integration in other systems as the main non-functional features of dashboards . The findings of the present study also indicated the importance of the mentioned features as non-functional requirements. Moreover, attention to the user-friendliness and user interface (UI) of the software, tailored to the needs of users, increases the successful implementation and continuous use of the system ; the findings of these studies are in line with the present research.
In the current study, the identified challenges were categorized into four groups: data sources and data generation, dashboard content, dashboard design, and implementation and integration. In a study by Rasmussen et al., four types of challenges, including presentation format, integration, interface design, and development and implementation, were described . Since the presentation format is related to the UI design , in the present study, it was classified as dashboard design.
Similarly, Ghazi Saeedi et al. reported four types of implementation challenges, including the development of performance indicators, data sources and data generation, integration of dashboards in source systems, and information presentation problems . In the present study, the development of performance indicators was classified as dashboard content. Regarding the challenges of data sources, due to the dispersion of systems and storing data in different formats in these systems, the creation of a data warehouse for data storage and web service architecture is suggested. Besides, development of a data warehouse is one of the methods to prevent duplications in a dashboard [21, 82, 83].
According to previous studies, data availability is also a major prerequisite for dashboard development [12, 84]. Besides, a service-oriented architecture is necessary for encapsulating data from different systems in a middleware layer for data integration in dashboards, and understanding various data hosting structures, different methods of data proliferation and transfer, and the best query language are necessary for this data structure .
In the present study, in relation to the type of information displayed by the dashboard and non-compliance with user needs, user participation and focus on selecting indicators appropriate to the goals of the organization is proposed. Evidence suggests the necessity of engaging users in dashboard development and adaptation processes to reduce resistance to the implementation of these systems .
Generally, it is important to select the type and number of indicators in a dashboard [86, 87], and every organization needs to select appropriate indicators depending on its goals . Evidence shows that at least 15 to 25 indicators are essential in a dashboard .
In the present study, to have a compatible system with the users’ cognitive abilities and skills and to provide information in a timely manner s, the capability of customization (to display information tailored to the user’s needs), color-coding systems, and visualization tools has been suggested. Overall, the findings of the current study were consistent with previous studies. According to previous studies, features, such as drill-down, filter, and alerts, are needed in dashboards for customizing the data depending on the user’s needs [12, 17, 90]. Overall, customization is an essential feature for organizing the dashboard content according to the users’ needs and promoting its application by the users [89, 91]. Besides, a color-coding system can be useful for a better understanding and interpretation of displayed information .
Additionally, the present study highlighted the importance of integrating data exchange standards, determining data access levels for dashboards, gradual adaptation of dashboards, and user training as potential solutions to facilitate dashboard adaptation and address its incompatibility with other systems. Since different hospital systems are integrated and linked to dashboards, particular attention should be paid to data security. In addition, data exchange standards are necessary for communication between systems and their integration in hospitals (92). Theoretically, depending on the importance and quality of information in dashboards, the level of data accessibility can be controlled at different security/privacy levels . It is also recommended to control the level of access based on the user's role and incorporate features, such as read-only or write/edit access [93, 94]. Moreover, the use of “single sign-on” technology is recommended for user login . The present findings also indicated the significant contribution of gradual dashboard implementation and inclusion of features based on the users’ needs for achieving success and meeting the users’ needs .
It is important to address some limitations of this study. First, all retrieved articles were written in English. Second, data were extracted by one researcher (SA) and evaluated by two researchers (SA and RR), which probably resulted in the unintended removal of some eligible studies. Finally, the inclusion and exclusion criteria of this study focused on the implemented hospital-level dashboards, while those used for data management related to a particular disease were excluded.