Developing a protocol for determining the competitive advantage of clinical specialty and sub-specialty mission differentiation in Iran

J Adv Med Educ Prof. 2020 Oct;8(4):178-188. doi: 10.30476/jamp.2020.86151.1221.


Introduction: The differentiation as a process occurs when new functions emerge in a system, and for this reason the university system is bound to diversify. With the advancement of knowledge and increase in competition, it has become a challenging issue and an inevitable necessity. This study aimed at identifying the dimensions of the differentiation of Iran's medical sciences universities through determining a protocol of the competitive advantage and scientific strength of clinical specialty and sub-spatiality departments of research activities.

Methods: This was a mixed-methods study; the qualitative study was carried out using a conventional content analysis method. We held a focus group discussion to develop a protocol of scientific strength and competitive advantage for mission differentiation. We used purposive sampling, in February 2019. The sessions were audio-taped. We analyzed the data by considering the verbatim transcribed document of the audio recorded discussions using conventional content analysis method for theme development. In the second stage, we implemented the proposed protocol in the first stage through the Scientometrics System for all 66 colleges and universities of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education.

Results: The results of the first stage includes a protocol, 4 indices and two formulae for scientific strength and competitive advantage proposed by the expert participants and an executive model designed to clinical specialty and sub-specialty of the college and universities of medical sciences in the research activities. In the second stage, the scientific strength and competitive advantage was calculated for all universities of medical sciences. The results indicated that some universities, for instance, Tehran, Shahid-Beheshti, Iran, Shiraz, Isfahan, etc. had the most competitive advantages among the academic clinical specialty and sub-specialty departments.

Conclusion: Besides teaching and research, universities should contribute to local socio-economic development, in the growing conviction that scientific research results and educational skills are crucial for the economic growth of nations. The enhancement of high-quality education and excellence in teaching will be consistent and sustained in research-intensive universities. It should strongly promote the integration and relatedness of teaching and research as an essential characteristic of the university.

Keywords: Academies and institutes; Clinical medicine; Hospital departments; Qualitative research.