The metrics process: Baylor's development of a “report card” for faculty and departments


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Abstract

In 1996, Baylor College of Medicine began the first year of its “metrics process,” collecting, analyzing, and reporting data on the performance of each individual faculty member and each department in achieving the school's missions of education, patient care, research, service, and finance. This article is a report of the first two years of the process, with updates about the 1999 process, future plans, and lessons learned. The primary goal of the metrics process is to provide meaningful data to assess and improve the performance of faculty and departments across all missions. The authors (1) indicate the categories chosen, within each mission of the school, for measuring faculty time and effort (e.g., patient care, with or without learners) and state the measures chosen (e.g., percentage of time); (2) describe the development of questionnaires in 1996 and 1997 to acquire data from faculty, in the chosen categories and measures, about the time and effort they spent; and (3) report highlights of the resulting departmental data that were gathered in 1997. Among the key categories and units of measure chosen for measuring faculty (and departmental) time and effort are research grant dollars (total and per research full-time equivalent, or FTE); basic research grant dollars per square foot of laboratory space; percentage of faculty who spend at least 50% of their time in research who are National Institutes of Health principal investigators; numbers of inpatient and outpatient visits per evaluation and management FTE; total relative value units (RVUs) per patient-care FTE; patient-care income/RVU and expense/RVU for total faculty and support staff; percentage of faculty with at least one leadership position in a state or national organization; and income in excess of expense, by mission (e.g., patient care). Results of comparing data from the first two years of the metrics process demonstrate marked improvements in performance for most research measures (i.e., items of measurement agreed upon for the metrics process). The process is continually being redeveloped; the ultimate challenge is to place the objective measurements in a context where less objective qualities (e.g., innovation) also figure importantly in the evaluation and fostering of excellence. The metrics process is providing important management data, encouraging significant discussions among faculty and chairs about performance and accountability, and aiding greatly in departmental goal-setting and ultimately in determining the overall performance of the school.

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