Specialists warming to pay for performance

Although existing quality incentive programs related to physician services are limited to primary care physicians, a new survey describes non-primary care physicians’ views. Karen Murphy, PhD, president of Health Care Future Consulting, and David B. Nash, MD, chairman of the department of health policy at Jefferson Medical College, surveyed cardiologists, hematologists, oncologists, obstetricians, gynecologists, and orthopedic surgeons.

Sixty-eight percent favored programs that pay physicians for such improvements as electronic medical records and other infrastructure upgrades. More than 40 percent supported a P4P program that paid according to clinical performance measures and patient satisfaction.

“The physicians believed that pay for performance did encourage the practice of evidence-based medicine,” says Murphy. “They indicated they were in favor of infrastructure grants that could be used for electronic medical records, for example.”

Specialty societies were the biggest influence on non-primary care physicians. “From the survey, it appears that specialty societies are going to play a huge role in engaging non-primary care physicians in the P4P arena,” says Murphy.

An easier way of engaging non-primary care physicians would be for managed care organizations to work with specialty societies, as their influence with this audience is significant, Murphy says.

The article is published in the November/December issue of the American Journal of Medical Quality.

Source: Murphy KM, Nash DB. Nonprimary care physicians’ views on office-based quality incentive and improvement programs. Am J Med Qual. 2008;23(6):427–39