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Development and actionability of the Dutch COVID-19 dashboard: descriptive assessment and expert appraisal study.

Bos, V.L.L.C., Jansen, T., Klazinga, N.S., Kringos, D.S. Development and actionability of the Dutch COVID-19 dashboard: descriptive assessment and expert appraisal study. JMIR Public Health and Surveillance: 2021, 7(10), p. nr. e31161.
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Web-based public reporting by means of dashboards has become an essential tool for governments worldwide to monitor COVID-19 information and communicate it to the public. The actionability of such dashboards is determined by their fitness for purpose—meeting a specific information need—and fitness for use—placing the right information into the right hands at the right time and in a manner that can be understood.

The aim of this study was to identify specific areas where the actionability of the Dutch government’s COVID-19 dashboard could be improved, with the ultimate goal of enhancing public understanding of the pandemic.

The study was conducted from February 2020 to April 2021. A mixed methods approach was carried out, using (1) a descriptive checklist over time to monitor changes made to the dashboard, (2) an actionability scoring of the dashboard to pinpoint areas for improvement, and (3) a reflection meeting with the dashboard development team to contextualize findings and discuss areas for improvement.

The dashboard predominantly showed epidemiological information on COVID-19. It had been developed and adapted by adding more in-depth indicators, more geographic disaggregation options, and new indicator themes. It also changed in target audience from policy makers to the general public; thus, a homepage was added with the most important information, using news-like items to explain the provided indicators and conducting research to enhance public understanding of the dashboard. However, disaggregation options such as sex, socioeconomic status, and ethnicity and indicators on dual-track health system management and social and economic impact that have proven to give important insights in other countries are missing from the Dutch COVID-19 dashboard, limiting its actionability.

The Dutch COVID-19 dashboard developed over time its fitness for purpose and use in terms of providing epidemiological information to the general public as a target audience. However, to strengthen the Dutch health system’s ability to cope with upcoming phases of the COVID-19 pandemic or future public health emergencies, we advise (1) establishing timely indicators relating to health system capacity, (2) including relevant data disaggregation options (eg, sex, socioeconomic status), and (3) enabling interoperability between social, health, and economic data sources.