Researchers at the University of Southern Maine examined the feasibility of using physician profiling software systems to rank physician specialists by their "cost efficiency"—that is, the extent to which the actual costs incurred by their patients are greater or less than expected for those patients, on average.
The researchers assessed whether two commercially available software packages could produce consistent rankings for each specialty:
- When the two packages were compared one to the other.
- When the rankings were compared year to year.
This project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization (HCFO).
- Agreement between rankings from consecutive years was substantial for cardiology, general surgery and neurology, but less so for primary care specialties such as family practice, internal medicine and gynecology.
- Agreement between rankings using the two software systems was also substantial for cardiology, general surgery and neurology. There was little agreement between rankings for family practice, foot surgery, internal medicine and gynecology.
- If pharmacy claims data are absent, accurate rankings are still feasible for cardiology, general surgery and neurology, but not for family practice.
- With the use of appropriate methodologies, health plans and patients can feel confident of cost-efficiency rankings for specialists such as cardiologists, general surgeons and neurologists.
- Caution is needed when interpreting rankings for others, such as family practitioners, gynecologists, internists and foot surgeons.
- Although cost-efficiency rankings might still be useful for feedback to physicians and for improving practice management, using inaccurate scores to reward or penalize physicians should be avoided.
Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization Project Results
Individual project results from the RWJF national program, Changes in Health Care Financing and OrganizationRead the Program Results for Changes in Health Care Financing and Organization
- About this grant
The What's Next Health series features leading thinkers and visionaries. Stanford social scientist & innovator BJ Fogg discusses his model f...
Executive Nurse Fellow Jerry Mansfield explains why the University Hospital and the Richard M. Ross Heart Hospital do not have a BSN-only hi...
We create new opportunities for better health by investing in health where it starts—in our homes, schools, and jobs.
Developing small community homes as alternatives to nursing homes, this radical, new national model for skilled nursing care returns control...
Hear from social scientist BJ Fogg, RWJF’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence Thomas Goetz, a team with a vision for creating a social epidemic of sa...
Patrick M. Krueger recently co-authored a study that examines the characteristics and mortality risks of nondrinker subgroups to explain why...
NewPublicHealth spoke with Danny McGoldrick, vice president of research at the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, about “A Broken Promise to Ou...
Telehealth Technology Could Help Obese Youth Get Better Treatment, Lose Weight - Study: Psychiatrists Less Likely than Other Doctors to Acce...
Team members, grantees, and guests discuss breakthrough ideas that will allow us to move toward solving challenges in health care.
Imagine a shared national culture of health in which being healthy and staying healthy are esteemed social values.
The RWJF DataHub tracks state-level data, and allows visitors to customize and visualize facts and figures.
When companies invest in employee wellness, it’s good for health, productivity ... and the bottom line.