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Anesth Analg. 2001 Aug;93(2):313-8, 2nd contents page.

Productivity versus availability as a measure of faculty clinical responsibility.

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Department of Anesthesia and Perioperative Care, University of California San Francisco, 521 Parnassus, San Francisco, CA 94143-0648, USA.


Faculty clinical time is an extremely valuable commodity. Most departments quantify faculty clinical time on an "availability" basis (e.g., number of days in the operating room or nights on call). We hypothesize that a productivity measure (i.e., determination of actual clinical care delivered rather than availability of such care) would produce different results than the availability system. The "billable hour" was chosen as the measurement device. It was defined as time that anesthesia was actually given, as obtained from the anesthetic record. After collecting data for a year, we found that despite parity using the availability system, the billable hour system detected significant differences between faculty within and between groups. We conclude that "availability" and "productivity" systems produce different conclusions regarding the relative contributions of an individual faculty or subspecialty group.


Accountability of clinical activities by faculty is crucial to the financial status of any department of anesthesia. We hypothesized that methods of availability (e.g., amount of time scheduled for clinical activities) versus productivity measure (actual amount of clinical care delivered) would be quite different between faculty and differing subspecialty groups. Even though the availability system distributed clinical time on an equal basis, there was a wide difference of clinical productivity within and between specialty groups. We conclude that a productivity measure (i.e., billable hours) is a more accurate reflection of faculty productivity than an availability system and is more in line with departmental sources of financial income.

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