Background: The ability to measure productivity, work performed, or contributions toward the clinical mission has become an important issue facing anesthesiology departments in private practice and academic settings. Unfortunately, the practice and billing of anesthesia services makes it difficult to quantify individual productivity. This study examines the following methods of measuring individual productivity: normalized clinical days per year (nCD/yr); time units per operating-room day worked (TU/OR day); normalized time units per year (nTU/yr); total American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) units per OR day (tASA/OR day); and normalized total ASA units per year (ntASA/yr). Methods: Billing and scheduling data for clinical activities of faculty members of an anesthesiology department at a university medical center were collected and analyzed for the 1998 fiscal year. All clinical sites and all clinical faculty anesthesiologists were included unless they spent less than 20% of their time during the fiscal year providing clinical care, i.e., less than 0.2 clinical full-time equivalent. Outliers, defined as faculty who had productivity greater or less than 1 SD from the mean, were examined in detail. Results: Mean and median values were reported for each measurement, and different groups of outliers were identified. nCD/yr identified faculty who worked more than their clinical full-time equivalent would have predicted. TU/OR day and tASA/OR day identified apparently low-productivity faculty as those who worked a large portion of their time in obstetric anesthesia or an ambulatory surgicenter. tASA/OR day identified specialty anesthesiologists as apparently high-productivity faculty. nTU/yr and ntASA/yr were products of the per-OR day measurement and nCD/yr. Conclusion: Each of the measurements studied values certain types of productivity more than others. By defining what type of service is most important to reward, the most appropriate measure or combination of measures of productivity can be chosen. In the authors' department, nCD/yr is the most useful measure of individual productivity because it measures an individual anesthesiologist's contribution to daily staffing, includes all clinical sites, is independent of nonanesthesia factors, and is easy to collect and determine.
- Clinical days, compensation
- Mission-based management
- Time units
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine