Medical school faculty clinical practices soon could have a new tool to improve efficiency.The Medical Group Management Association and the Association of American Medical Colleges will collaborate on a project to develop productiv ity standards for medical school faculty.
The survey of academic practice revenues, expenses, staffing and productivity will replace surveys that both organizations conduct on their own.
They hope a joint survey will get a higher res ponse rate. The MGMA's Academic Practice Management Survey has an 18% response rate, and the AAMC's Group on Faculty Practice Financial Survey has a 55% response rate.
The MGMA publishes benchmarks for nonacademic practices, but tho se numbers don't account for teaching and research functions, diverse revenue streams or severe case mixes typical of academic practices.
"This is unique in that there is no database that has gone to this extent to measure clinical faculty effort," said Robert D'Antuono, AAMC assistant vice president for healthcare affairs.
He said medical school deans and faculty practice plan administrators "are very anxious to have this kind of data," with which they co uld create incentive compensation systems and adjust staff levels.
"No reliable national standards exist to measure physician productivity in academic settings, to estimate the appropriate size and mix of a medical school's clinical faculty as required in a managed-care market, or to understand the impact of a changing reimbursement system," said Stephen A. Valerio, administrator of Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Medicine. Valerio is pr esident of the MGMA's academic practice assembly.
The organizations are exploring the use of resource-based relative value scales for teaching and research activities, which has never been done before, said David Gans, survey operat ions director for the MGMA. "Most medical schools have information systems that accommodate RBRVS data collection, but whether it's collected consistently and correctly we don't know," Gans said.
The survey of academic clinical pr actices at each of the nation's 125 medical schools will be pilot tested in April using 20 to 25 medical schools and will be fully implemented by next fall. The data are expected to be released in March 1997, D'Antuono said.
James W oolliscroft, M.D., chief of clinical affairs at the University of Michigan Medical Center, said every academic institution is looking for benchmarks."In order to educate our students well, we need to expose them to what the standa rds are out there," he said.