Trend: Number of P4P programs increasing rapidly

Despite complaints from some providers, it looks like the volume of pay-for-performance programs emerging in the U.S. is increasing rapidly.  However, research suggests that such programs may have significant flaws, largely related to inconsistencies in the data they measure.

Payors are embracing this model enthusiastically. Research from the Leapfrog Group and health IT vendor Med-Vantage has projected that there will be 155 P4P programs in place during 2007, as compared with only 39 in 2003. This also includes Medicare, which has been running a high-profile P4P pilot. However, few payors were offering a large enough incentive payment to motivate physicians, observers suggest.

Worse, insurers aren't using the same playbook when it comes to measurement. A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers looking at 10 P4P programs found that they used almost 60 different performance indicators for physicians, but that no one indicator was used by all. What's more, no two of the programs structured their rewards the same however. Observers suggest that until payors are more in sync, physicians will be in no position to meet everyone's goals.

To get more information on this trend:
- read this Modern Physician piece

Related Articles:
Study: P4P definitions, incentives still 'incomplete.' Report
Physicians question CMS P4P effort. Report
CMS extends pay-for-performance program. Report
Health IT not playing key role in P4P. Report
Trend: Medicaid programs offer P4P incentives. Report
Exclusive: How to make P4P work. Interview