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Panel: Properly designed pay-for-performance models can support medical professionalism
Date:3/15/2010

PHILADELPHIA, March 16, 2010 -- An expert panel convened by the American College of Physicians (ACP) says that properly designed pay-for-performance (P4P) programs can strengthen the relationship between physicians and patients and increase the likelihood that physicians will deliver the best possible care. The panel's analysis appears in the March 16 issue of Annals of Internal Medicine.

"Concerns about the conflicts between medical professionalism and pay-for-performance have been based primarily on theories about the tension between external motivation and self-interest and the internal motivation and self-restraint that characterize professional expectations," said panel member Amir Qaseem, MD, PhD, MHA, FACP, a senior medical associate with ACP. "We believe that physicians should play a key role in defining and evaluating P4P programs that are compatible with professionalism."

The ACP-led panel of experts in clinical medicine, law, management, and health policy met six times to examine the relationship between medical professionalism (a code of conduct that under ideal circumstances is adhered to by all professionals) and P4P incentive programs (various financial incentive programs that differ in eligibility requirements, selection and scope of measures, formula for determining payment, and magnitude of payments).

Using the Charter on Medical Professionalism (http://www.annals.org/content/136/3/243.full.pdf) -- developed by the ACP Foundation, American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, and European Federation of Internal Medicine -- as a framework, the panel organized the Charter's 10 professional responsibilities around four themes especially pertinent to P4P:

  • application of scientific evidence to deliver and improve care
  • ethically appropriate interactions between physicians and patients
  • promoting equity in health care delivery
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Contact: Steve Majewski
SMajewski@acponline.org
215-351-2514
American College of Physicians
Source:Eurekalert

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