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Br J Gen Pract. 2009 Aug;59(565):e267-72. doi: 10.3399/bjgp09X453792. Epub 2009 Jun 15.

Do the Quality and Outcomes Framework patient experience indicators reward practices that offer improved access?

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  • 1Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, Leicester. rb14@le.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) includes indicators for patient experience, but there has been little research on whether the indicators identify practices that deliver good patient access.

AIM:

To determine whether practices that achieved high QOF patient experience points in 2005/2006 or 2006/2007 also delivered good patient access.

DESIGN OF STUDY:

Use of publicly available data to investigate two hypotheses: practices with more positive access survey findings in 2006/2007 will be more likely to have achieved maximum QOF patient experience points in the same year; and practices with maximum QOF patient experience points in 2005/2006 will have higher access survey findings in 2006/2007.

SETTING:

Two-hundred and twenty-four East Midlands general practices.

METHOD:

For hypothesis one, binary logistic regression was used, with achievement of maximum QOF points as the dependent variable, and access survey findings, responder variables, and practice variables as independent variables. For hypothesis two, general linear models were used, with access survey findings as the independent variables, and achievement of maximum QOF points and the responder and practice variables as dependent variables.

RESULTS:

The findings did not support the first hypothesis. For the second hypothesis, achievement of maximum QOF points was only significantly associated with patient satisfaction with opening hours (positive correlation). QOF points were not associated with any other aspect of access.

CONCLUSION:

The QOF patient experience indicators do not reward practices that offer good patient access. A standard patient survey with financial incentive may be more effective in identifying and rewarding practices that offer better access, including opportunity to book appointments with a particular doctor.

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