Survey reveals physicians have negative views of quality metrics, readmission penalties: 5 takeaways

A new survey from The Commonwealth Fund and the Kaiser Family Foundation has revealed unpopular opinions held by many physicians regarding the increased use of quality-of-care metrics and financial penalties for unnecessary hospitalizations.

The findings in the study were pulled from a new brief based on the 2015 National Survey of Primary Care Providers, which captures the experiences and views of primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants related to recent changes in healthcare delivery and payment. Some topics covered include accountable care organizations, medical homes and the use of health information technology. 

All total, a nationally representative sample of 1,624 primary care physicians responded to the survey — which was conducted online from Jan. 5 through March 30 — as well as 525 nurse practitioners and physician assistants in primary care practices.

Highlighted below are five findings from the survey.

1. Fifty percent of primary care physicians say the increased use of quality metrics to assess provider performance is negatively affecting care quality. Far fewer (22 percent) see quality metrics as having a positive effect.

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2. Similarly, 52 percent of primary care physicians say programs that impose financial penalties for unnecessary hospital admissions or readmissions are negatively affecting care quality, while just 12 percent say such programs have a positive effect.

3. Nurse practitioners and physician assistants view quality metrics and readmissions penalties somewhat more favorably than physicians, but still are more likely to see negative effects than positive ones.

4. Half of physicians and nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of nurse practitioners and physician assistants see the advance of health IT as a positive effect on the practices' ability to provide high quality care. Far fewer physicians (28 percent), nurse practitioners and physician assistants (20 percent) say health IT is having a negative impact on quality.

5. The spread of ACOs and their impact on care quality is viewed by physicians more negatively (26 percent) than positively (14 percent), though the majority of them have either seen no impact or are not sure about ACOs' effect on care quality. Nearly 30 percent of primary care physicians say they currently participate in an ACO and, among those who participate, views are more favorable, though still mixed (30 percent positive, 24 percent negative).

To read the full issue brief on the survey results, click here.



More articles on care quality and quality metrics:
Physician leaders want to hold physicians accountable for costs and quality
HAC Reduction Program measures should be reconsidered, study authors conclude

30-day readmission metric needs to be revamped

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