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Am J Manag Care. 2018 Oct;24(10):455-461.

Primary care physician resource use changes associated with feedback reports.

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RTI International, 307 Waverly Oaks Rd, Ste 101, Waltham, MA 02452. Email:



To measure changes in primary care physician (PCP) ordering rates for 4 global resource use measures before and after dissemination of physician feedback reports that provided peer-comparison resource use rates. We also explored whether physician practice characteristics (panel size, clinic size, and years of experience) were associated with resource use changes.


Pre-post implementation study measuring physician resource use in an integrated healthcare system (2011-2014).


Kaiser Permanente Washington PCPs (N = 210) were provided annual feedback reports showing their personal ordering rates compared with those of their peers. Monthly physician ordering was measured from November 2011 to September 2014 (including prereport and postreport periods). We examined 4 physician ordering rates (specialty referrals, high-end imaging, laboratory tests, and 30-day prescriptions) per 1000 patients, adjusted for patient age, gender, and clinical complexity.


After accounting for physician practice characteristics, monthly PCP ordering rates for high-end imaging significantly decreased by 0.8 images per 1000 patients (P <.01). In contrast, orders for laboratory tests and 30-day prescriptions significantly increased by 15.0 tests and 84.7 prescriptions per 1000 patients (both P <.01). We observed greater changes following feedback in physicians with fewer years of experience (≤10 years), who had 4.2 fewer specialty referrals (P = .01) and 101.3 more 30-day prescriptions (P <.01) compared with those with more experience (>20 years).


Physician feedback reports may be associated with changes in physician resource use, and physicians with fewer years of experience may be more responsive to feedback reports. Better understanding of factors associated with changes in resource use is necessary for future targeted development of physician interventions.

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