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Revenue Cycle Analytics & the Hawthorne Effect

We’ve seen it proven time and time again that practices who regularly use analytics to measure their revenue cycle see their productivity increase. Maximizing productivity is an important goal for revenue cycle managers. Productivity saves time, and time is money for a busy medical practice.

Why is there a strong correlation between utilizing analytics on a regular basis and seeing productivity increase? It does not matter who the practice is, or whether they actually use those analytics to make any changes to their processes. Either way, their productivity will increase. This is called the Hawthorne Effect, and it’s one reason why we feel strongly that analytics should be a part of every practice’s revenue cycle strategy.

Defining the Hawthorne Effect

Before we get into the details, let’s define the Hawthorne Effect. The Hawthorne Effect is the alteration of behavior by the subjects of a study due to their awareness of being observed. In other words, people who are aware of their work being observed will perform better. If people know they are being watched and measured, regardless of any outside factors, this alone will cause them to work harder and be more productive.

The Hawthorne Effect was coined by a researcher named Henry A. Landsberger during the 1920s and 30s. Landsberger was researching the impact of different work environments on the productivity of workers. During each trial, he changed a different aspect of the work environment, such as increased lighting, decreased lighting, etc. Each time, no matter the external factor that changed, their productivity increased. This is when he realized that it was not the addition or subtraction of external factors that were causing an increase in productivity; it was the fact that these workers knew they were being observed.

Applying the Hawthorne Effect to Revenue Cycle Analytics

Now that we know a bit more about the Hawthorne Effect, how does this apply to Revenue Cycle Analytics?

Measurement Breeds Improvement

When coding staff know they are being measured through Revenue Cycle Analytics, they want to perform their best. Productivity will naturally improve simply from the fact that staff members know they will see the results of their work! Practice managers looking for a more efficient, productive revenue cycle need to start measuring their staff through Revenue Cycle Analytics.

Measurement Provides Insight

This increase in productivity is compounded by the fact that we actually use analytics to find opportunities for improvement. Not only will coding staff naturally improve, but the insights provided through the analytics help managers guide their staff towards making greater improvements.

For example, revenue cycle analytics helps managers identify the top coding changes their coders are making. There might be an opportunity to automate those changes so that coders don’t have to stop and make the changes themselves. These are some of the ways that analytics helps managers make better decisions.

Measuring your revenue cycle performance regularly through analytics is one of the best strategies practice managers can implement today. Because of the Hawthorne Effect, you will see immediate productivity improvements, and it will provide you with insight that you are otherwise lacking into your revenue cycle. If you have not included analytics in your revenue cycle strategy, we strongly urge you to consider it.