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Study Finds Lacuna In Pay For Performance Health Program

Study Finds Lacuna In Pay For Performance Health Program

Recently a study was conducted on the impact of pay for performance program launched across the state in 2004. This study finds lacuna in pay for performance health program after taking consideration of performance rating of 25 medical groups. According to this study, carried on by UCLA in California, demonstrated that for 25 different medical groups, although there has been a significant improvement in the rating of patient-care performance, when incentives considered on the productivities of doctors, it is not the case.

The fact that this study finds lacuna in pay for performance health program has been reported in Journal of General Internal Medicine in December edition. In this report Hector P. Rodriguez, an assistant professor at UCLA School of Public Health, sin the health service department, expressed that there really has been some evidence that some financial incentives in combination of public rating of performance status of medical group, has fulfilled the purpose of improvement of patient care with which the program was launched. This evidence has been bolstered by the patient care experience. But, at the same time, some type of incentives resulted in negative patient care experience.

As a part of the study, the researchers observed the pattern in which group performance ratings has changed over the time. They noticed that in three different broad categories, there has been a significant improvement. This substantial increase has been observed in care coordination, physician communication, and office staff interaction. They observed that with this pay for performance program lunched by Integrated Healthcare Association, incentives for patient-clinician interaction and overall patient care experience resulted in significant improvement in performance in these aspects. This was more noticeable in case where medical groups spent additional funds to encourage a work culture which is more patient care centered.

However, the improvement largely depends which area is being emphasized largely. As this study finds lacuna in pay for performance health program, it is noticed that those group emphasizing more on the patient experience and clinical quality have greater degree of improvement than those putting more emphasis on physician productivity. Specifically, this study finds lacuna in pay for performance health program where the incentives, instead of using more broadly, are being directly paid to the physicians. Researchers found that emphasizing too much on the productivity of physicians has resulted in negative patient care experience at the time of a visit to primary care doctor.

This study should serve as a timely much needed information for healthcare reform, added Rodriguez. As this study finds lacuna in pay for performance health program, it should be an indication and providing the necessary information as to what should be undertaken by the medical groups and what should be avoided by them, regarding financial incentives for improvement in the quality of patient health care.

This study was conducted between 2003 and 2006 analyzing the information collected from 25 medical groups in California. A total of 124,021 patients' experience of 1,444 primary care physician were taken into consideration and to determine the usage of incentive benefit, the interviews with group medical directors were conducted. For achievement in patient care experiences, clinical care process, office based information system, all 25 groups were awarded with incentive benefits. As they were free to use this fund, some used this fund to pay the incentive directly to the physicians, some of them used them taking consideration for organizational priorities resulted in different impact on the overall patient care experience.

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