Over the last few years, there has been a rapid switch in organizations allowing and encouraging Work From Home (WFH) options. This switch has occurred at an unprecedented pace and much about this change on such a large scale is still unexplored. While BHM has always had a very strong background in data analytics and reporting, we took this opportunity to explore ethical and fair productivity metrics to allow for data-driven decision-making around our WFH practices.
We started with our operations team, the backbone of our service delivery and client satisfaction. Our project journey and resulting discoveries for the Medical Charts Review Operations Team are detailed below. What we ended up discovering was not only shocking but also lead to remarkable performance improvements, especially among the newer members of the department.
Operations Performance Dashboard
The Operations Performance Dashboard brought an unprecedented level of visibility and clear expectations to the operations team. It measures productivity, quality, and customer service scores, the three pillars of our operational support team. Because the data was normalized and scaled to reflect an average working day, operations management and the team could easily assess where an employee ranked and if their work was in line with the expectations and their teammates.
This level of visibility into our operation pipeline was extremely valuable for our company. In fact, the executive who has overseen operations for many years, still comments frequently on how great it is to be able to see this on an objective and quantitative scale. We are now able to do away with many qualitative or speculative measures to evaluate performance as had been done in the past in favor of more objective, quantitative measures that include historic data for comparison. One decision we struggled with was whether or not to publicize the dashboard to the team, and from what we have seen so far, we feel we made the right choice to make it accessible to them.
Staff Productivity Improvements
While we were only expecting to have greater visibility into productivity to allow for more ethical and fair performance evaluations and related decision-making, what we ended up finding was more surprising. We saw our newer staff increase their productivity and accelerate their progress on the training curve. Our median performers become more productive as they could see how their work compared to the rest of the team and added a level of competition to it. However, our top performers had about the same performance.
It is important to note that we did not notice any degradation in quality as a result of the improved performance and we were conscious of avoiding burnout. We attribute the gains to allowing the team to be more self-managing while also bringing greater visibility and allowing those who work hard to stand out to their management and the rest of their team.
Data-driven decision making
BHM chose to advance our productivity metrics to the next level due to the sudden shift in ways of working. We prioritized this effort to allow one of our five core principles “data-driven decision making” to come front and center as we move forward.
Here is the general checklist we followed before getting started on this journey:
- Understand what a highly productive worker looks like
- Review how the team enriches value directly or indirectly to customers or the top line
- Understand potential ways of boosting efficiency
- Review the related workflows and the systems used
- Put together a dashboard plan including identified KPIs from step 1 considering the information gained from step 2
- Put together a data automation plan and review any system complications and dependencies needed to achieve 3
In a future post, I plan to focus on the backend technical items needed to prepare for the dashboard step. This next part in the process is commonly referred to as Extract, Transform, Load (ETL). If there is interest in specific items within ETL or similar topics, please comment and I will review them for future posts. Contact Eric Rosenberg, Head of BHM Analytics and Client Operations, at BHMAnalytics@bhmpc.com
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For additional reading, here is a Work From Home article from the Harvard Business Review: The Case for Remote Work in Healthcare