Comparing Interventions to Improve Physician Performance

Supporting research into the effectiveness of physician-level interventions in improving quality of care
    • August 3, 2015

Dates of Project: November 15, 2010 through December 31, 2013

Description: The project team at the American Board of Internal Medicine, through a subcontract to the Health Policy Research Institute at the University of California, Irvine, conducted a systematic review of existing evidence for the effectiveness of physician-level interventions. The team also sponsored a conference of health care leaders to discuss the promises and challenges of physician-level interventions.

Key Findings

Forty-two studies were included in the systematic review, which is unpublished as of August 2015:

  • Of 18 pay-for-performance studies, 10 showed positive effects, four had no effect, and four had mixed findings.
  • Of 16 studies focused on assessment and feedback, four showed positive effects, eight had no effect, and four had mixed results.
  • Of seven studies focused on certification/maintenance of certification, three showed positive effects, two had no effect, and two had mixed results.
  • One study focused on pay for reporting, and appeared to show a positive result, although the research team did not confirm that finding.
  • No studies met eligibility criteria for the public reporting intervention.

The research team concluded that “the evidence for the five physician-level quality improvement strategies...does not point to a single ‘magic bullet’ for improving physician-level quality of care.”

In November 2011, approximately 60 conference participants agreed that it was not clear whether efforts to assess individual physicians actually improve quality.

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Researchers: Evidence does not point to single magic bullet for improving physician-level quality of care.