Impact of economic incentives on quality of professional life and on end-user satisfaction in primary care

Consorci d'Atenció Primària de Salut de l'Eixample (CAPSE), Barcelona, Spain.
Health Policy (Impact Factor: 1.91). 01/2007; 80(1):2-10. DOI: 10.1016/j.healthpol.2006.02.008
Source: PubMed


A new economic incentive scheme based on (i) quality of care objectives for physicians, and (ii) professional development for both physicians and nurses, was introduced in primary care teams.
To assess weather the implementation of these economic incentive schemes has had an impact on the quality of professional life (QPL) of both physicians and nurses and on end-user satisfaction.
Before-after study. Participants are 257 primary care teams in Catalonia, Spain, in the period 2002-2003. QPL and end-user satisfaction were used as outcome measures.
QPL was improved in terms of the dimension "perception of support from the management structure" among physicians (4.897 versus 5.220; p<0.001) as well as nurses (5.272 versus 5.638; p<0.001). Further, physicians perceived an increase in the dimension "demands made upon them" (6.124 versus 6.364; p<0.001), differently from the nurses group (5.8191 versus 5.929; p=0.063). Overall, user satisfaction did not vary significantly, although a positive relationship was found between "perception of support from the management structure" and user satisfaction among nurses (beta=0.078, p=0.007), and a negative relationship between "demands made upon them" and user satisfaction in the case of physicians (beta=-0.057, p=0.011).
Incentives related to quality of care annual targets may increase physicians' perception of burden and it may have a negative impact on consumer satisfaction. Incentives on long-term professional development seem to be related to an increase in professionals' perception of support from the management structure. Among nurses, this increase is related to an improvement of user satisfaction.

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