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Measuring Physicians Productivity: A Three-Year Study to Evaluate a New Remuneration System

Filler, Guido MD, PhD; Burkoski, Vanessa RN, MScN, DHA; Tithecott, Gary MD

Academic Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/ACM.0000000000000058
Research Reports

Purpose: To evaluate a new assessment tool measuring physicians’ academic productivity and its use in a performance-based remuneration system.

Method: The authors developed an assessment tool based on existing tools to measure productivity. Yearly, from 2008 to 2011, physicians at the University of Western Ontario received a score of up to three points for each of four components (impact, application, scholarly activity, mentorship) in each of four domains (clinical practice, education, research, administration). Scores were weighted by the percentage of time physicians spent on tasks in each domain. Year 1 scores were a baseline. In Years 2 and 3, scores were tied to remuneration. The authors compared scores and associations, accounting for age and academic rank, across the three years.

Results: The 37 participating physicians included 11 assistant, 23 associate, and 4 full professors. The mean weighted total baseline score across all four domains was 7.44. Years 2 and 3 scores were highly correlated with Year 1 scores (r = 0.85, Years 1 and 2; r = 0.89, Years 1 and 3). Year 2 mean weighted scores did not differ significantly from Year 1 scores. Assistant professors’ scores improved significantly between Years 1 and 2 (+1.08, P < .001). Lower Year 1 scores were correlated with a greater improvement in scores between Years 1 and 2, and age was negatively correlated with score changes between Years 2 and 3.

Conclusions: Although the tool may be a robust measurement of physicians’ productivity, performance-based remuneration had no effect on physicians’ overall performance.

Author Information

Dr. Filler is professor and chair, Department of Pediatrics, University of Western Ontario, and chief, Children’s Hospital, London Health Science Centre, London, Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Burkoski is vice president/chief nursing executive, Quality, Patient Safety, and Professional Practice, London Health Science Centre, London, Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Tithecott is assistant professor, Department of Pediatrics, and associate dean of undergraduate medical education, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.

Funding/Support: None reported.

Other disclosures: None reported.

Ethical approval: The institutional research ethics board of the University of Western Ontario (REB file number 102508) approved this study.

Supplemental digital content for this article is available at

Correspondence should be addressed to Dr. Filler, Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre, 800 Commissioners Rd. E., London, ON, Canada N6A 5W9; telephone: (519) 685-8500, ext. 57904; e-mail:

© 2014 by the Association of American Medical Colleges