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2008 Annual Meeting Abstracts

Does an Academic Incentive Plan Encourage Previously Uncompensated Academic Pursuits in Surgery?
Chandrajit P. Raut, MD, MSc, Christine C. Mitchell, MS, Dennis P. Orgill, MD, PhD, Michael J. Zinner, MD, Stanley W. Ashley, MD.
Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.

Objective: Our Department of Surgery has a compensation system largely based on clinical productivity. We hypothesized that a small financial incentive accompanied by a yearly process of reporting and review may encourage uncompensated academic activities including teaching, research, and citizenship.
Design: Pre-and post-intervention survey.
Setting: University teaching hospital without pre-intervention Academic Incentive Plan (AIP).
Participants: Department of Surgery faculty (75 eligible).
Interventions: Implementation of a departmental AIP (1% of faculty collections withheld and redistributed based on Division Chief/Chair’s assessment of faculty self-reports).
Outcome Measures: Survey Likert scale.
Results: Survey response rates were 64% and 67%, respectively. Although 92% submitted reports of academic activities, only 25% met with their Chiefs to review the assessment. Despite the small incentive, >50% believed that the AIP encouraged them to increase academic pursuits and rewarded activities important to the Department not previously reimbursed. Most did not believe that teaching, clinical research, or citizenship was adequately compensated before or after AIP implementation. However, more felt that citizenship and administration were adequately compensated in the post- v. pre-intervention survey (p<.05); there were similar trends for clinical research and teaching (p=NS). Among 25 respondents who provided additional comments, 52% mentioned lack of transparency in the method of incentive redistribution as a concern.
Conclusions: Although only a minority met with their Chiefs for assessment, most faculty feel that even a minimal financial incentive may encourage them to increase their academic activities. We plan additional measures to make the incentive allocation more transparent. We are encouraged to continue the AIP as a positive motivator for academic pursuits while continuing our basic compensation model promoting clinical productivity.


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