E1024. The Hawthorne Effect in the Practice of Radiology: How Does it Affect Radiologist Performance
  1. Elayna Shanker; New York Medical College
  2. Sabrina Kohanzad; New York Medical College
  3. Jared Meshekow; Westchester Medical Center
  4. Perry Gerard; Westchester Medical Center
Purpose: To gain an understanding of the Hawthorne effect as it applies in the healthcare setting, especially radiology. Additionally, we aim to outline how this phenomenon results in healthcare improvements as it modulates radiologist performance. The Hawthorne effect is a well described phenomenon of modified behavior of research subjects under investigation due, in part, to their knowledge of being observed. 1 It also describes a subject’s presumed compliance or desire to please a researcher with a positive result. 2 The Hawthorne effect is often used to explain unexpected outcomes or possible error, demonstrating that—despite every preventative measure—interventional studies may be unwittingly confounded by aspects of the experiment itself. The application of the Hawthorne effect in medicine describes alterations in a physician’s practice while under direct observation. Various studies have cited this psychological influence as contributing to improved performance, efficiency, and even hygiene of clinicians. 4 5 6 The literature further suggests that radiologists who are subject to surveillance show increases in productivity between 20 and 46%. 5 Additionally, the duration of testing and certain protocols, such as fluoroscopy, may decrease significantly due to the Hawthorne effect. 7 These findings have important implications on patient safety as productivity within radiology implies reduced doses of radiation. 5 7

Educational Goals / Teaching Points
1) Definition and Historical Background of Hawthorne Effect 2) Utilization in Radiology a) Radiologist Performance b) Radiation Dosage c) Patient Safety 3) Pearls and Pitfalls within the Department 4) Future Applications

Key Anatomic/Physiologic Issues and Imaging Findings/Techniques

The Hawthorne effect as it applies to radiology has been extensively studied and applied to numerous elements in a radiology practice. The understanding and implementation of this phenomenon can have a positive impact in any radiology practice if implemented appropriately.