Incentive schemes not supported by evidence

THERE is no evidence financial incentives improve the quality of primary healthcare, according to a recent Cochrane review that has urged governments to proceed with caution when setting up incentive schemes.

University of Melbourne researchers reviewed previous studies assessing how well such incentive schemes worked but found just seven appropriate studies, despite hundreds of incentive schemes operating around the world.

Lead researcher Dr Peter Sivey (PhD) said the study indicated the need for care by health policy makers when designing incentive schemes, to ensure their impact can be adequately measured.

“There is currently little rigorous evidence about whether financial incentives do improve the quality of primary healthcare, or of whether such an approach is cost-effective relative to other ways of improving the quality of care,” he said.

“It is really important that we start collecting data that will address this