Link physician pay to work hours to increase access to care

With a physician shortage and pay-for-performance shift hanging over the industry, some healthcare organizations have been incentivizing physicians to increase the availability of high-quality care. According to a recent analysis in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ), hospitals can guarantee improved access to care by establishing incentives that would encourage physicians to increase their working hours.

"Central to the issue of access is the adequacy of the supply of physicians, specifically, whether the number of physicians and their work effort sufficiently addresses the health care needs of the population," the authors wrote, according to a press release.

So to boost physicians' productivity and ensure they deliver the care their communities need, organizations must directly tie compensation to the number of hours worked.

"Linking compensation to time worked or services provided, as opposed to forms of pay that are unrelated to time worked, will better ensure the goal of increased work hours," the authors noted.

The authors warned that providing physician incentives for factors other than hours worked, such as the repayment of tuition fees or relocation support, would create a "pure income effect" at the healthcare organization and lead to fewer hours of work and, therefore, fewer services provided.

With a shortage of healthcare providers, realizing that certain incentives will influence physicians to choose to work more hours could help the industry manage the increasing demand for care.

To learn more:
- here's the press release