In theory, payers include smart use of technology in their standards for handing out pay-for-performance bonuses. In reality, however, they aren't paying that much attention to IT adoption, according to a new study by analyst firm Health Industry Insights. The study, which surveyed 57 U.S. health plans with P4P programs planned or underway, found that when provided with a list of seven factors needed for P4P success, payers ranked physician IT adoption near the bottom, at fifth.
The researchers argue that for P4P programs to succeed, payers will have to get with the IT program, establishing incentives for doctors to adopt more sophisticated IT infrastructure. In particular, they contend, payers should encourage doctors to use certified technology using interoperable standards. Ultimately, they say, IT use will have to be a meaningful part of how physician practices are evaluated for P4P payouts.