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Journal of Health Care Management (Full-text available)

Quality and Safety in Health Care  (Full-text available via NHS OPenAthens)


Due to the difficulty of studying incentives in practice, there is limited empirical evidence of the full-impact pay-for-performance (P4P) incentive systems.


To evaluate the impact of P4P in a controlled, simulated environment.


We employed a simulation-based randomised controlled trial with three standardised patients to assess advanced practice providers’ performance. Each patient reflected one of the following: (A) indicated for P4P screenings, (B) too young for P4P screenings, or (C) indicated for P4P screenings, but screenings are unrelated to the reason for the visit. Indication was determined by the 2016 Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services quality measures.


The P4P group was paid $150 and received a bonus of $10 for meeting each of five outcome measures (breast cancer, colorectal cancer, pneumococcal, tobacco use and depression screenings) for each of the three cases (max $300). The control group received $200.


Learning resource centre.


35 advanced practice primary care providers (physician assistants and nurse practitioners) and 105 standardised patient encounters.


Adherence to incentivised outcome measures, interpersonal communication skills, standards of care, and misuse.


The Type a patient was more likely to receive indicated P4P screenings in the P4P group (3.82 out of 5 P4P vs 2.94 control, p=0.02), however, received lower overall standards of care under P4P (31.88 P4P vs 37.06 control, p=0.027). The Type b patient was more likely to be prescribed screenings not indicated, but highlighted by P4P: breast cancer screening (47% P4P vs 0% control, p<0.01) and colorectal cancer screening (24% P4P vs 0% control, p=0.03). The P4P group over-reported completion of incentivised measures resulting in overpayment (average of $9.02 per patient).


A small sample size and limited variability in patient panel limit the generalisability of findings.


Our findings caution the adoption of P4P by highlighting the unintended consequences of the incentive system.

Posted: July 17, 2020, 8:00 am

Reproductive drug safety has been a priority for patients and physicians even before the 1960s, when thalidomide—a drug commonly used to alleviate morning sickness—was tied to alarming cases of infants born with phocomelia.1 The Kefauver-Harris Amendment of 1962 prevented thalidomide approval in the USA.1 The legislation also led to immediate reforms in how drugs were approved, but not necessarily how they were prescribed.1 In the decades that followed, processes to regulate safe prescribing lagged.

The first reproductive drug safety initiatives were those for isotretinoin (Accutane) and thalidomide: the Accutane Pregnancy Prevention Program (1988), the System for Thalidomide Education and Prescribing Safety (1998) and the System to Manage Accutane-Related Teratogenicity (2002). In response to persistent gaps in these and other drug safety monitoring programmes, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) subsequently implemented the Risk Management and Evaluation Strategy (REMS) programme in 2007.

Posted: July 17, 2020, 8:00 am

Emergency general surgery (EGS) encompasses a variety of common acute surgical conditions with high morbidity and mortality that often require timely delivery of resource-intensive care. In the UK, over 30 000 patients require an emergency laparotomy each year1 and a 2012 audit by the UK Emergency Laparotomy Network revealed a greater than 10-fold variation in mortality rates between hospitals.2 The wide variability in both processes of care and clinical outcomes make EGS a prime target for quality improvement (QI) programmes, whereby promotion of evidence-based practices associated with better outcomes have the potential to impact thousands of lives.

The Enhanced Peri-Operative Care for High-risk patients (EPOCH) trial was designed to evaluate the impact of a national QI programme on survival after emergency abdominal surgery across 93 National Health Service (NHS) hospitals in the UK.1 In this trial, a care pathway consisting of 37 consensus-derived best...

Posted: July 17, 2020, 8:00 am

Quality improvement and patient safety (QIPS) education programmes have proliferated in the past decade given the rising demand for healthcare professionals to develop the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to make improvements in healthcare.1–4 On the one hand, this proliferation is a positive sign of the institutionalisation of QIPS within our educational, practice, professional and regulatory spheres. On the other hand, while numerous QIPS education programmes are up and running, our understanding of key educational processes and how to optimise outcomes is still evolving. For instance, it remains unclear how to simultaneously optimise learning and project outcomes in quality improvement (QI) project-based learning or how to facilitate interprofessional learning in QIPS education.

In this issue of BMJ Quality and Safety, Myers and colleagues5 studied the influence of two postgraduate QIPS fellowship training programme for physicians on graduates’ career outcomes...

Posted: July 17, 2020, 8:00 am

A global rise in patient complaints has been accompanied by growing research to effectively analyse complaints for safer, more patient-centric care. Most patients and families complain to improve the quality of healthcare, yet progress has been complicated by a system primarily designed for case-by-case complaint handling.


To understand how to effectively integrate patient-centric complaint handling with quality monitoring and improvement.


Literature screening and patient codesign shaped the review’s aim in the first stage of this three-stage review. Ten sources were searched including academic databases and policy archives. In the second stage, 13 front-line experts were interviewed to develop initial practice-based programme theory. In the third stage, evidence identified in the first stage was appraised based on rigour and relevance, and selected to refine programme theory focusing on what works, why and under what circumstances.


A total of 74 academic and 10 policy sources were included. The review identified 12 mechanisms to achieve: patient-centric complaint handling and system-wide quality improvement. The complaint handling pathway includes (1) access of information; (2) collaboration with support and advocacy services; (3) staff attitude and signposting; (4) bespoke responding; and (5) public accountability. The improvement pathway includes (6) a reliable coding taxonomy; (7) standardised training and guidelines; (8) a centralised informatics system; (9) appropriate data sampling; (10) mixed-methods spotlight analysis; (11) board priorities and leadership; and (12) just culture.


If healthcare settings are better supported to report, analyse and use complaints data in a standardised manner, complaints could impact on care quality in important ways. This review has established a range of evidence-based, short-term recommendations to achieve this.

Posted: July 17, 2020, 8:00 am

Journal of Behavioural Decision Making ( Free Full text)

Author: Jakub Traczyk, Kamil Fulawka, Dominik Lenda, Tomasz Zaleskiewicz
Author: Tom Gordon‐Hecker, Iris K. Schneider, Shaul Shalvi, Yoella Bereby‐Meyer
Author: Patricia Kanngiesser, Jahnavi Sunderarajan, Jan K. Woike
Author: Christoph Schild, Lau Lilleholt, Ingo Zettler

See also Health Management Update

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