Background: There is considerable concern about the impact of teaching responsibilities on physicians' productivity. Previous research employing independent sample designs has suggested that physicians who teach medical students are less productive then their nonteaching counterparts.
Method: This study examined the productivity of 15 family practice faculty and third-year resident physicians practicing in the Family Medical Center of the University of Kentucky College of Medicine; in addition to the care of patients, the physicians were assigned to teach third-year medical students participating in an ambulatory primary care clerkship. The productivity of each physician (i.e., number of patients seen per half day) was measured during a four-month period in the spring of 1991. The physicians' levels of productivity with and without medical students were compared through the use of a paired-sample design.
Results: No significant difference in productivity levels was observed.
Conclusion: Ambulatory-care teaching responsibilities may not diminish physicians' productivity in academic teaching practices.