Financial incentives for physicians or patients are one way that healthcare organizations are trying to improve health outcomes. A new study examined whether providing these financial incentives would help improve low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in patients with a high-risk for cardiovascular disease.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia studied 1,500 patients and 340 primary care physicians. Physicians were randomly assigned to one of four groups. One group solely focused on providing physicians with financial incentives, while another group focused on financially rewarding patients when they showed improvements in their cholesterol levels. A third group consisted of shared incentives for both physicians and patients, while the last group (a control group) did not receive any financial incentives.
Overall, shared financial incentives for both physicians and patients, but not incentives to physicians or patients alone, resulted in a significant reduction of LDL-C levels at 12 months.