Study finds that assessments and incentives for medical faculty productivity improve research

June 20, 2012, University at Buffalo

(Medical Xpress) -- Strategies introduced to assess -- and reward -- the productivity of faculty at academic medical centers in the U.S. do improve faculty research productivity, according to a systematic review recently published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Such strategies also may result in improved clinical productivity, the study found; however, their impact on teaching productivity is far less clear.

"When strategies are introduced to assess productivity as part of a compensation scheme, they appear to improve productivity in research activities," says Elie A. Akl, MD, MPH, PhD, lead author and associate professor of medicine, family medicine and social and preventive medicine at the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and School of Public Health and Health Professions. Akl also has an appointment at McMaster University.

"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," says Akl.

The strategies may have had no apparent effect on teaching productivity, Akl says, because there truly is no effect, or because the studies included in this analysis were unable to detect one.

"Enhancing the productivity of faculty in academic medical departments is essential for improving their reputation, and ensuring their growth," says Akl. "This has become vital for survival amid current financial realities."

He and his co-authors comprehensively and systematically reviewed the for studies that evaluated strategies to assess the productivity of faculty, ultimately analyzing the results of eight relevant studies.

"When these kinds of productivity assessments coupled with compensation or incentive schemes are introduced, we found that compensation increased at both group and individual levels, particularly among junior faculty," says Akl.

In order to better understand whether and how departments of medicine in the U.S. are measuring and compensating the of their faculty, Akl and his colleagues are currently planning a national survey of chairs of departments of .

Akl notes: "We need higher quality evidence about the potential benefits and harms of such assessment strategies."

Explore further: Skewed results? Failure to account for clinical trial drop-outs can lead to erroneous findings in top medical journals

More information: The paper is available at www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2012/05/28/cmaj.111123

Related Stories

Skewed results? Failure to account for clinical trial drop-outs can lead to erroneous findings in top medical journals

June 14, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- A new University at Buffalo study of publications in the world's top five general medical journals finds that when clinical trials do not account for participants who dropped out, results are biased and ...

Behavior of people faced with health-care choices is not influenced by 'framing effect,' study finds

December 7, 2011
The behavior of consumers who are faced with making decisions about their health is not significantly influenced by the way health messages are worded or framed, according to a large, new study by researchers at the University ...

Should low molecular weight heparin be used in cancer treatment?

February 15, 2012
For decades, the blood thinner heparin has been used to prevent and treat blood clots. Could it be just as effective in treating cancer?

Recommended for you

Best of Last Year—The top Medical Xpress articles of 2017

December 20, 2017
It was a good year for medical research as a team at the German center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Magdeburg, found that dancing can reverse the signs of aging in the brain. Any exercise helps, the team found, but dancing ...

Pickled in 'cognac', Chopin's heart gives up its secrets

November 26, 2017
The heart of Frederic Chopin, among the world's most cherished musical virtuosos, may finally have given up the cause of his untimely death.

Sugar industry withheld evidence of sucrose's health effects nearly 50 years ago

November 21, 2017
A U.S. sugar industry trade group appears to have pulled the plug on a study that was producing animal evidence linking sucrose to disease nearly 50 years ago, researchers argue in a paper publishing on November 21 in the ...

Female researchers pay more attention to sex and gender in medicine

November 7, 2017
When women participate in a medical research paper, that research is more likely to take into account the differences between the way men and women react to diseases and treatments, according to a new study by Stanford researchers.

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.