How AMCs boosted physician productivity

Increased productivity could be vital to a department's survival

Clinical productivity at U.S. academic medical centers (AMCs) increased after the AMCs introduced strategies to assess and financially compensate faculty for their productivity, according to a report in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

University of Buffalo School of Medicine researchers reviewed eight studies from the past 13 years assessing how AMCs incorporated academic productivity as part of compensation. In six of the studies the schemes also linked to improved faculty-led research productivity, but there was not a clear link to teaching productivity, the report says.

Some schemes gave faculty regular feedback, others used a Web-based process, and half noted the need for staff to manage the productivity assessment. Clinical productivity increased in terms of clinical revenue, patient satisfaction, and general work, particularly among junior faculty.

The data suggest that "when faculty productivity is assessed in connection with an appropriate compensation or incentive scheme, the results can create positive cultural change within a department, helping it to achieve its mission," according to lead author Elie Akl, associate professor of medicine at Buffalo.

Moreover, enhancing productivity is essential to improving an academic medical department's "reputation, and ensuring their growth," according to Akl. "This has become vital for survival amid current financial realities."

Akl is pursuing further research to determine the "potential benefits and harms of such assessment strategies" (Akl et. Al, Canadian Medical Association Journal, 5/28;   University of Buffalo News, 6/18).

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