Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 14, Issue 10, pp 617–621 | Cite as

Quantifying physician teaching productivity using clinical relative value units

  • Michael M. Yeh
  • Daniel F. Cahill
Original Articles


OBJECTIVE: To design and test a customizable system for calculating physician teaching productivity based on clinical relative value units (RVUs).

SETTING/PARTICIPANTS: A 550-bed community teaching hospital with 11 part-time faculty general internists.

DESIGN: Academic year 1997–98 educational activities were analyzed with an RVU-based system using teaching value multipliers (TVMs). The TVM is the ratio of the value of a unit of time spent teaching to the equivalent time spent in clinical practice. We assigned TVMs to teaching tasks based on their educational value and complexity. The RVUs of a teaching activity would be equal to its TVM multiplied by its duration and by the regional median clinical RVU production rate.

MEASUREMENTS: The faculty members’ total annual RVUs for teaching were calculated and compared with the RVUs they would have earned had they spent the same proportion of time in clinical practice.

MAIN RESULTS: For the same proportion of time, the faculty physicians would have generated 29,806 RVUs through teaching or 27,137 RVUs through clinical practice (Absolute difference =2,669 RVUs; Relative excess =9.8%).

CONCLUSIONS: We describe an easily customizable method of quantifying physician teaching productivity in terms of clinical RVUs. This system allows equitable recognition of physician efforts in both the educational and clinical areas.

Key words

relative value scales medical education medical faculty teaching employee performance appraisal 


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael M. Yeh
    • 1
  • Daniel F. Cahill
    • 1
  1. 1.the Department of Internal MedicineSt. Joseph Mercy HospitalAnn Arbor

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