Quality Metrics Mean Nothing…Again


A new study in Health Affairs found that:

A sizable bonus or sharp pay cut riding on the quality of patient care did little to change doctors’ performance in a study.

This, once again, proves metrics mean nothing.  Look how well that has done in education?  Teachers are going to jail in Atlanta for cheating on exams.  Doctors will follow in the same path if we let this crap continue.

But doctors are different, right?

Kaiser Health News  reports that “there are few winners” in the first year of the government’s new quality incentive for physicians, which links Medicare payments to how well they score on quality measures and how much their patients cost the program. Of the 1,010 large physician groups “that the government evaluated, just 14 are getting payment increases this year, according to Medicare.” On the other hand, only 11 groups face reductions for low quality or high spending.

My conclusion?  Doctors just don’t give a shit about this.  And because of that indifference, moving to quality metrics to pay doctors is a massive mistake.  I have been saying this for a decade.