Retrospective Study
Copyright ©The Author(s) 2024. Published by Baishideng Publishing Group Inc. All rights reserved.
World J Orthop. Feb 18, 2024; 15(2): 129-138
Published online Feb 18, 2024. doi: 10.5312/wjo.v15.i2.129
Academic productivity correlates with industry earnings in foot and ankle fellowship programs in the United States: A retrospective analysis
Albert T Anastasio, Anthony N Baumann, Kempland C Walley, Kyle J Hitchman, Conor O’Neill, Jonathan Kaplan, Samuel B Adams
Albert T Anastasio, Conor O’Neill, Jonathan Kaplan, Samuel B Adams, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Duke University Hospital, Durham, NC 27710, United States
Anthony N Baumann, College of Medicine, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Rootstown, OH 44272, United States
Kempland C Walley, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, United States
Kyle J Hitchman, School of Osteopathic Medicine, Campbell University, Lillington, NC 27546, United States
Author contributions: Anastasio AT created the idea for the study, performed data collection, contributed to the manuscript and revisions; Baumann AN contributed to the manuscript, performed statistical analysis, and assisted with revisions; Walley KC performed data collection, contributed to the manuscript and editing process; Hitchman KJ uploaded the submission and was responsible for revisions of the manuscript; O’Neill C wrote portions of the manuscript, performed data collection and was involved in the editing process; Kaplan J was involved with the editing process and served as a mentor for the project; Adams SB served as the Principal Investigator for this study and was involved with the editing process; all authors have read and approve of the final manuscript.
Institutional review board statement: All the data included in the manuscript are available publicly online. Additionally, no human or animal research was carried out at any point during the study. For these reasons, we do not believe IRB approval or exemption is necessary.
Informed consent statement: No human subjects were involved in this research project. Additionally, there were no experimental groups. The data in this study were obtained from readily available online resources.
Conflict-of-interest statement: Albert Anastasio: Consulting fees from QPIX Solutions. Anthony Baumann: Declarations of interest: None. Kempland Walley: Declarations of interest: None. Kyle Hitchman: Declarations of interest: None. Conor O’Neill: Relationships with Medtronic, Stryker, and Fortis Surgical. Jonathan Kaplan: Relationships with Novastep, Exactech, Encore Medical, Stryker, Vilex, Bioventus, and Micromed. Samuel B. Adams: Consulting fees/relationships with Conventus, Enovis, in2bones, Restor3d, and Stryker. See COI form for more relationships.
Data sharing statement: Technical appendix, statistical code, and dataset are available from the corresponding author at albert.anastasio@gmail.com.
Open-Access: This article is an open-access article that was selected by an in-house editor and fully peer-reviewed by external reviewers. It is distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: https://creativecommons.org/Licenses/by-nc/4.0/
Corresponding author: Albert T Anastasio, MD, Doctor, Surgeon, Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Duke University Hospital, 200 Trent Dr, Durham, NC 27710, United States. albert.anastasio@gmail.com
Received: October 19, 2023
Peer-review started: October 19, 2023
First decision: November 29, 2023
Revised: December 8, 2023
Accepted: January 3, 2024
Article in press: January 3, 2024
Published online: February 18, 2024
Abstract
BACKGROUND

The study investigates the connection between academic productivity and industry earnings in foot and ankle orthopedic surgery fellowships. Utilizing metrics like the H-index and Open Payments Database (OPD) data, it addresses a gap in understanding the relationship between scholarly achievements and financial outcomes, providing a basis for further exploration in this specialized medical field.

AIM

To elucidate the trends between academic productivity and industry earnings across foot and ankle orthopedic surgery fellowship programs in the United States.

METHODS

This study is a retrospective analysis of the relationship between academic productivity and industry earnings of foot and ankle orthopedic surgery fellowships at an individual faculty and fellowship level. Academic productivity was defined via H-index and recorded from the Scopus website. Industry earnings were recorded from the OPD.

RESULTS

Forty-eight foot and ankle orthopedic surgery fellowships (100% of fellowships) in the United States with a combined total of 165 physicians (95.9% of physicians) were included. Mean individual physician (n = 165) total life-time earnings reported on the OPD website was United States Dollar (USD) 451430.30 ± 1851084.89 (range: USD 25.16-21269249.85; median: USD 27839.80). Mean physician (n = 165) H-index as reported on Scopus is 14.24 ± 12.39 (range: 0-63; median: 11). There was a significant but weak correlation between individual physician H-index and individual physician total life-time earnings (P < 0.001; Spearman’s rho = 0.334) and a significant and moderate positive correlation between combined fellowship H-index and total life-time earnings per fellowship (P = 0.004, Spearman’s rho = 0.409).

CONCLUSION

There is a significant and positive correlation between academic productivity and industry earnings at foot and ankle orthopedic surgery fellowships in the United States. This observation is true on an individual physician level as well as on a fellowship level.

Keywords: Sunshine act, Foot and ankle, Orthopedic surgery, Orthopedic fellowship, Industry earnings

Core Tip: We determined there to be a statistically significant correlation between individual physician H-index and individual physician total life-time, non-research-related earnings reported on Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This finding remained true when collective H index of the faculty at a given orthopedic foot and ankle fellowship was correlated to collective industry payments to the faculty at that fellowship. Further efforts should seek to characterize any potential disadvantages to the high degree of industry involvement of the most academically productive foot and ankle surgeons.