Pay-for-engagement model helps enhance doc-patient relationship communication

When insurers implement a new reimbursement model known as pay-for-engagement--which emphasizes a strong doctor-patient relationship instead of an outcome-based metric--they incentivize doctors to better communicate with their patients, which, in turn, can help save costs, according to The New York Times Health Care Blog.

Under this payment method, insurers align doctors' pay with the level of engagement they have with their patients. Insurers can either provide a one-time payment for activities that doctors will perform during a select period or they can pay fees continually for doctors to actively manage chronic conditions.

For example, insurers would directly compensate their networked doctors for the time, attention and care they provide to patients, including "proactive communication, monitoring, analysis and interventions that take place outside of (and between) traditional episodic visits," the authors explained.

Improving doctor-patient relationships just might be a key to solving ever-rising healthcare costs, the post suggested. Poor physician‐patient communications, for instance, are cited in at least 40 percent of malpractice claims. And research has found that patients have a 19 percent higher risk of poor medication adherence if their doctors don't communicate well.

That's where pay-for-engagement comes in. When insurers implement this payment model, they're effectively enabling doctors to foster strong relationships with their patients, including communications and activities that occur beyond typical office visits.

And since most consumers place far more emphasis on the quality of their relationships with doctors than on typically used quality indicators like outcomes measures, as FiercePracticeManagement previously reported, insurers could also be enhancing member satisfaction by incorporating a pay-for-engagement reimbursement policy.

To learn more:
- read the New York Times Health Care Blog article