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Br J Gen Pract. 2007 Jun;57(539):449-54.

Quality of clinical primary care and targeted incentive payments: an observational study.

Author information

1
Primary Care Group, School of Medicine, University of East Anglia, Norwich. n.steel@uea.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Payments for recorded evidence of quality of clinical care in UK general practices were introduced in 2004.

AIM:

To examine the relationship between changes in recorded quality of care for four common chronic conditions from, 2003 to 2005, and the payment of incentives.

DESIGN OF STUDY:

Retrospective observational study comparing incentivised and non-incentivised indicators of quality of care.

SETTING:

Eighteen general practices in England.

METHOD:

Medical records were examined for 1156 patients. The percentage of eligible quality indicators achieved for each patient was assessed in 2003 and 2005. Twenty-one quality indicators referred to asthma and hypertension: six subject to and 15 not subject to incentive payments. Another 15 indicators referred to depression and osteoarthritis which were not subject to incentive payments.

RESULTS:

A significant increase occurred for the six indicators linked to incentive payments: from 75% achieved in 2003 to 91% in 2005 (change = 16%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 10 to 22%, P <0.01). A significant increase also occurred for 15 other indicators linked to 'incentivised conditions'; 53 to 64% (change = 11%, 95% CI = 6 to 15%, P <0.01). The 'non-incentivised conditions' started at a lower achievement level, and did not increase significantly: 35 to 36% (change = 2%, 95% CI = -1 to 4%, P = 0.19).

CONCLUSION:

The introduction of financial incentives was associated with substantial apparent quality improvement for incentivised conditions. For non-incentivised conditions, quality did not appear to improve. Patients with non-incentivised conditions may be at risk of poorer quality care.

PMID:
17550669
PMCID:
PMC2078183
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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