What hospitals may be getting wrong about physician performance reviews

Annual performance reviews for physicians often use counterproductive performance metrics that do not align with healthcare organizations' main values and strategic goals, according to Medscape.

Many reviews assess physicians' performance on a set of quantitative metrics with coinciding financial incentives. This strategy is not always effective, as it encourages physicians to just go through the motions to get a bonus without being personally invested in the organization's goals for improvement, according to Robert Pearl, MD, former CEO of the Permanente Medical Group in Oakland, Calif.

"The best way to motivate improved performance is through purpose and mission," Dr. Pearl, who now teaches at the Stanford (Calif.) Graduate School of Business, told Medscape.

Dr. Pearl helped revamp Permanente Medical Group's performance review process during his time at the organization. The medical group now provides every physician with teamwide patient satisfaction data, allowing them to compare their own performance to peers'. The medical group also offers education programs to help physicians meet personalized goals and bases physician bonuses on a combination of about 30 different quality measures.

"This approach helped improve quality of care, patient satisfaction and fulfillment of physicians," Dr. Pearl said.

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