With the rising cost of healthcare in the recent years there has been great interest placed in determining the relationship between financial healthcare incentives, cost of healthcare services and how individuals seek care considering the costs. Little focus has been place on how financial healthcare incentives affect the quality of care provided by healthcare practitioners.
My own evaluation shows that financial healthcare incentives create a paradigm shift in healthcare provision, where profitability is prioritized over quality of care and equity. Similarly, while financial healthcare incentives are perceived to be beneficial to healthcare managers, the risk associated with low quality of care and client dissatisfaction may be higher and ultimately financially disadvantageous.
My assessment is that financial healthcare incentives should be reevaluated and redesigned because at present it is an ineffective and inefficient motivator for care providers. Healthcare incentive should instead focus on motivators that would promote not only the provision of care but quality in the service.
While financial numeration is probably the most attractive incentive, at its present form, where quantity of patients and facilities used determines numeration, it negatively affects quality of care. Instead financial incentives should focus on evaluating the quality of care provided by practitioners as well as the post-evaluation of patients with regard to overall satisfaction.
In this manner financial incentives become drivers for quality care rather than quantity of patients. The main purpose of financial incentives was to ensure that care providers are receive ample remuneration as well as to entice high quality health practitioners. By redesigning the financial incentive system, the goal of remuneration and enticement is still met, without causing patients to suffer lower quality care.
Christianson, J., Leatherman, S. & Sutherland, K. (2007). Financial Incentives, Healthcare Providers and Quality Improvements: A Review of the Evidence. Quest for Quality and Improvement Performance. London: The Health Foundation.