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Real-time Feedback in Pay-for-Performance: Does More Information Lead to Improvement?

TitleReal-time Feedback in Pay-for-Performance: Does More Information Lead to Improvement?
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsBond AM, Volpp KG, Emanuel EJ, Caldarella K, Hodlofski A, Sacks L, Patel P, Sokol K, Vittore S, Calgano D, Nelson C, Weng K, Troxel A, Navathe A
JournalJ Gen Intern Med
Date Published2019 Apr 30

BACKGROUND: Pay-for-performance (P4P) has been used expansively to improve quality of care delivered by physicians. However, to what extent P4P works through the provision of information versus financial incentives is poorly understood.

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether an increase in information feedback without changes to financial incentives resulted in improved physician performance within an existing P4P program.

INTERVENTION/EXPOSURE: Implementation of a new registry enabling real-time feedback to physicians on quality measure performance.

DESIGN: Observational, predictive piecewise model at the physician-measure level to examine whether registry introduction associated with performance changes. We used detailed physician quality measure data 3 years prior to registry implementation (2010-2012) and 2 years after implementation (2014-2015). We also linked physician-level data including age, gender, and board certification; group-level data including registry click rates; and patient panel data including chronic conditions.

PARTICIPANTS: Four hundred thirty-four physicians continuously affiliated with Advocate from 2010 to 2015.

MAIN MEASURES: Physician performance on ten quality metrics.

KEY RESULTS: We found no consistent pattern of improvement associated with the availability of real-time information across ten measures. Relative to predicted performance without the registry, average performance increased for two measures (childhood immunization status-rotavirus (p < 0.001) and diabetes care-medical attention for nephropathy (p = 0.024)) and decreased for three measures (childhood immunization status-influenza (p < 0.001) and diabetes care-HbA1c testing (p < 0.001) and poor HbA1c control (p < 0.001)). Results were consistent for subgroup analysis on those most able to improve, i.e., physicians in the bottom tertile of performance prior to registry introduction. Physicians who improved most were in groups that accessed the registry more than those who improved least (8.0 vs 10.0 times per week, p = 0.010).

CONCLUSIONS: More frequent provision of information, provided in real-time, was insufficient to improve physician performance in an existing P4P program with high baseline performance. Results suggest that electronic registries may not themselves drive performance improvement. Future work should consider testing information feedback enhancements with financial incentives.

Alternate JournalJ Gen Intern Med
PubMed ID31041590
Health Policy & Economics
Faculty Publication