Physician Practice

Survey shows many physicians worry rising quality metrics, penalties will harm patient care

Physician Practice Insider, August 11, 2015

Many primary care physicians fear the increased use of quality metrics and financial penalties being placed on them will ultimately harm patient care, according to a survey released August 5 by the Commonwealth Fund and Kaiser Family Foundation.
Half of the 1,600 physicians who were surveyed said the increased use of quality metrics to assess provider performance was having a negative effect on their ability to provide quality care to patients, compared to 22% of physicians surveyed who said it was having a positive effect.
Fifty percent of physicians said increased use of health information technology was positive, but then 52% said increased use of related programs that impose financial penalties for unnecessary hospitalizations were having a negative effect on care.
In regard to Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), 38% of physicians said they were unsure of the effect on patient care and 22% described it as negative. On the other side, 21% said ACOs had no effect and 14% described it as positive. Skeptical assessments were stronger from physicians who work outside ACOs, but even those currently part of an ACO who were surveyed were fairly split on the effect on patient care.
The survey also showed many physicians are worried about recent trends in healthcare, so much so that they are considering early retirement. Nearly half (47%) of the physicians testified to that sentiment. The survey also included responses from nurse practitioners and physician assistants, which closely mirrored physicians’ sentiments.
On questions related to teamwork and collaboration with other members of their practices, nurse practitioners and physician assistants reported a higher degree of satisfaction than physicians. Fifty-four percent of the former group said they were very satisfied with collaboration while the latter group was only at 35%. Overall, however, more than 80% of both groups reported they were generally satisfied with the teamwork.

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