Paying Physician Group Practices for Quality: A Regional Natural Experiment

The researchers evaluated the impact of a quality-based scorecard and financial incentives developed by Premera Blue Cross in Washington State. They compared clinics exposed to two waves of a progressive “paying for quality” intervention with a control group of clinics not subject to the intervention. Specifically, the researchers assessed the joint effects of quality-based financial incentives and the quality scorecard on physicians’ clinical quality, patient satisfaction, and efficiency in caring for patients. They distinguished the effects on quality, patient satisfaction, and efficiency of providing information to medical groups relative to their performance on an array of clinical quality measures from the incremental effect on quality and efficiency of clinical quality-based financial incentives. The objective of the project was to assist organizational leaders and public policymakers to craft more cost-effective quality incentives.