The concept of a "digital dashboard" has been discussed since the 1990s. The goal was to create a cross-platform IT solution that gathered and integrated data from multiple heterogeneous systems, thus standardizing communication and data access. Such a product has been long anticipated but never truly realized. Bill Gates discussed the idea with emphasis on XML during his Comdex ’99 keynote (link here). Below is an excerpt from his lecture.
We can also let you walk up to your PC and see the things that you care about, not just this Web page or that Web page, but the things that you've pulled together. And that's not going to be just information from the Web, or just information from your local computer, or just information from your corporate service, it will mix all of those things. You want to mix all those things together...The Digital Dashboard is the concept that allows you to do that. And, again, it's very dependent on this XML approach so that Web sites aren't just places you go to look at, but they're places that your Digital Dashboard can go and ask for their XML, and then put that in the comprehensive presentation.
Unfortunately, a true digital dashboard platform has not even been defined yet alone been executed. End users must often browse dozens of resources to gather the information required to perform their daily tasks. It has been suggested that RSS might provide a technical foundation for the digital dashboard.
Feeds can be created to provide metadata across applications of any kind. For example, RSS can enable IT managers to view a “snapshot” across all of the systems within their enterprise. This would ultimately allow a user to monitor his or her internal system resources, an LIS for example, along with email and industry news feeds. For the laboratory information niche, RSS may be a useful tool to enable communication between a laboratory and its client physicians. Customizable, dynamic, feeds could be built to directly notify a physician-client of a laboratory about the following: new (i.e., unread) lab test results, policy changes within the laboratory such as reference range updates, and regulatory changes pertaining to the lab.