Published August 3, 2012
Strategies to assess and reward faculty productivity at American academic medical centers improve research productivity, according to a systematic review led by Elie A. Akl, MD, PhD.
They also may improve clinical productivity, but their impact on teaching productivity is far less clear.
“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, associate professor of medicine, family
medicine and social and
Such strategies may have had no apparent effect on teaching
productivity because there is no effect or because the studies
included in the analysis were unable to detect one, according to
“Enhancing the productivity of faculty in academic medical departments is essential for improving their reputation and ensuring their growth,” he adds. “This has become vital for survival amid current financial realities.”
Akl and his colleagues next plan to survey chairs of departments
of medicine across the country to better understand whether and how
they are measuring and compensating faculty productivity.
“We need higher quality evidence about the potential benefits and harms of such assessment strategies,” he says.
The current study, titled “Effects of assessing the productivity of faculty in academic medical centres: a systematic review,” was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.
It involved comprehensively reviewing the medical literature for studies that evaluated strategies to assess faculty productivity, ultimately analyzing the results of eight relevant studies.
Akl’s co-authors are from UB; McMaster University, where
he also has a faculty appointment; the Regina Elena National Cancer
Institute in Rome, which funded the study; the German Cochrane
Centre; the Institute of Biostatics and Medical Informatics; and
the University Medical Center in Freiberg, Germany.