Pay for performance may improve health professionals’ use of tests and treatments

Added April 22, 2020

Citation: Yuan B, He L, Meng Q, et al. Payment methods for outpatient care facilities. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2017; 3(3): CD011153

What is this? The COVID-19 pandemic is placing a strain on healthcare systems. Existing research into ways to improve provision of outpatient health services might inform actions to ease this.

In this Cochrane systematic review, the authors searched for comparative effectiveness studies that had evaluated the impact of different payment methods on the performance of outpatient care facilities. They did not restrict their search by date or language of publication and did the search in March 2016. They included 8 randomised trials, six controlled before-after studies, four interrupted time series studies and three repeated measure studies. Most of the evidence came from studies of pay for performance.

What was found: Pay for performance will probably lead to a slight improvement in healthcare workers’ use of tests or treatments in outpatient care, particularly for chronic diseases; but may lead to little or no improvement in patients’ use of healthcare services or health outcomes.

What’s uncertain: The costs and effects of adding pay for performance to an existing payment method are uncertain in outpatient care.

The effects on outpatient care of payment methods other than pay for performance are uncertain.


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