Study: Incentives Do Not Boost Care Outcomes for Blood Pressure Patients
Providing financial incentives for physicians to meet targets for improving patient care made no discernible difference to the health and treatment of patients with high blood pressure, suggesting that pay-for-performance incentives might not be worthwhile, according to a study published on Wednesday in theÂ British Medical Journal, Reuters reports.
Researchers from Harvard Medical School, the University of Nottingham and the University of Alberta in Canada analyzed data from the United Kingdom's Health Improvement Network -- a large database of primary care records from 358 general practices.
The researchers identified 470,725 patients diagnosed with high blood pressure between January 2000 and August 2007, covering a period four years before and three years after the performance incentives were implemented (Merrill, Healthcare Finance News, 1/26).
The researchers assessed the effect of incentivized targets on the quality of care and found no change in the risk of heart attacks, kidney failure, stroke or death (Reuters, 1/26).
The study found that physicians increased their income by as much as 25% by participating in the P4P program, the New York Times' "Prescriptions" reports.
One of the study's authors, Brian Serumaga of the University of Nottingham Medical School, said that there are other factors beyond monetary gains that motivate physicians. He suggested that educating doctors more effectively about treatments and engaging them in patient care might be more successful.
The researchers also suggested spending money to boost involvement of nurses and pharmacists in patient care (Abelson, "Prescriptions," New York Times, 1/26).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.