Doctors skeptical of value-based care transformation, report says

Despite the drive to improve care quality and reduce costs through value-based care programs, many physicians prefer the more traditional fee-for-service approach, though they acknowledge it is more expensive, according to a new survey.

Nearly three-quarters (73%) said they prefer fee-for-service, and 65% said they feel it will be hard to offer high-quality care over the next years, according to the third Front Line of Care report from Bain and Company and Research Now Group. One thousand physicians in a number of specialties, 100 finance officers and 100 procurement officers participated.

Providers on the whole have become more cautious as they navigate waves of change, according to the report, and the researchers concluded that progress toward care innovation has slowed over the past two years.

Doctors in particular hesitate to adopt new approaches, as the regulatory and administrative burdens continue to increase. Physicians also want to see clear clinical benefits to new approaches before fully backing them, as their preference for fee-for-service demonstrates—financial benefits alone aren’t enough of a motivator.

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“Doctors are steeped in a field that requires lifelong learning, so of course they are wary of new, unproven approaches,” Josh Weisbrod, a leader in Bain’s Healthcare Practice and one of the report’s authors, said in an announcement. “In the push to infuse more protocols into healthcare and make it value-based, the industry should not underestimate the importance of helping physicians combat their skepticism so they can take a more a more active role in shaping and leading change.”

One solution to address both physicians’ concerns and to stimulate more momentum for change is for doctors to be more included in crucial conversations, according to the report. Healthcare organizations that embrace change also give physicians a greater leadership role in shaping those innovations. Shifting care management decisions back to doctors can empower them to make better decisions and likely improve outcomes.

Physicians who were actively engaged in shared decision-making had higher net promoter scores in the report, meaning they were more satisfied with their jobs and their organizations. Doctors who work for physician-led organizations were also more satisfied than those in manager-led groups.