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Pay-for-performance programs improve radiology report turnaround times, study suggests
Date:8/20/2010

A pay-for-performance (PFP) program implemented at one of the nation's largest general hospitals appeared to have a marked effect on expediting final radiology report turnaround times (RTAT), improving patient care, according to a study in the September issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology (www.ajronline.org).

One increasingly popular trend, used both by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services and by third-party payers, attempts to address variation in quality and performance through the use of PFP programs. Individuals or organizations entering PFP agreements are essentially compensated through one of two mechanisms: a straight bonus that rewards providers with additional payments for achieving stipulated performance targets or placement of a percentage of contracted provider revenue that is directly at risk if these targets are not met.

At Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, in Boston, MA, a radiology PFP program was used to assess its impact on RTAT for all departmental reports from 11 subspecialty divisions. Study periods were 3 months before (baseline period) and immediately after (immediate period) the introduction of the program and 2 years later after the program had terminated (post period).

Three RTAT components were evaluated for individual radiologists and for each radiology division: examination completion (C) to final signature (F), C to preliminary signature (P), and P to F. "Mean C-F, C-P, and P-F for all reports decreased significantly from baseline to immediate to post period, with the largest effect on the P-F component," said Giles W.L. Boland, MD, lead author of the study. RTAT decreased by approximately two-thirds (62 percent) between the baseline and post period.

"Rapid completion and ready availability of final radiology reports is considered an essential and important clinical quality metric. PFP incentives desig
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Contact: Heather Curry
hcurry@acr-arrs.org
703-390-9822
American College of Radiology / American Roentgen Ray Society
Source:Eurekalert

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