Financial incentives, healthcare providers and quality improvements A review of the evidence

July 2009

Jon Christianson
Sheila Leatherman
Kim Sutherland

Key questions addressed

  • How effective are efforts to reward providers for improving the quality of care they provide or achieving benchmark levels of quality?
  • Have financial incentives intended to restrain costs and utilisation had secondary effects on quality of care, and if so to what degree?

This report reviews the literature to determine how financial incentives affect the quality of care delivered by healthcare organisations and individuals. It was updated and republished in July 2009.

The report updates a 2007 review of international studies which examine the effect of financial incentives on the behaviour of healthcare organisations and individuals in relation to quality of care they delivery to consumers. The authors use rigorous search strategies to highlight the key empirical studies which examine the links between financing incentives, health care provider and quality improvements.  Given the current financial and policy context, it is particularly timely.   

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