3 tips to prepare for quality-based compensation

Although practices still face a number of hurdles in shifting from productivity to value-driven physician compensation formulas, experts predict that such changes will closely follow updates to reimbursement models that incentivize quality care, according to an article from Physicians Practice.

As payment models slowly evolve, keep the following advice in mind:

1. Speak up for relevant metrics.
Get involved in discussions about what metrics your practice will link to physician pay and how they will be measured, Medical Group Management Association consultant Jeffrey B. Milburn told Physicians Practice. For instance, if patient satisfaction scores will affect your compensation, make sure the surveys assess the perceived level of care provided by physicians, not whether it is difficult to find parking near the office, Milburn said.

Also watch out for survey questions that could conflict with your clinical goals. As a recent article from The Wall Street Journal pointed out, some hospital executives noted that some questions can put patient care at odds. For example, the question, "How often did the hospital staff do everything they could to help you with your pain?," can conflict with efforts to curb painkiller addiction and abuse.

2. Track data before you need it.
Before your organization begins paying you based on specific quality metrics, encourage the practice to begin collecting data, both to get practice in tracking measures and to create a baseline from which you want to improve. Conducting this trial period can also help determine what percentage of pay should be tied to a certain metric.

3. Motivate your team.
Because practice and physician performance is influenced by how well support staff do their jobs, consider sweetening the pot for employees too. Also think about delegating some physician responsibilities to other staff members, Mary Witt, senior vice president of national healthcare management and consulting services company The Camden Group, advised Physicians Practice. Witt said that doing so frees doctors to focus more on patient care.

To learn more:
- read the article from Physicians Practice
- see the story from The Wall Street Journal

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