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Academic productivity correlates with industry earnings in foot and ankle fellowship programs in the United States: A retrospective analysis.

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.

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