Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Yet another valid criticism of pay-for-performance (P4P)

DB of "DB's Medical Rants" takes another opportunity to direct some of his typical well thought out criticism against the dangerous concept of pay for performance for physicians. See here.

The thoughts he expresses fall into the category of still-another-reason why P4P is a bad idea.

He refers to the concepts popularized by Daniel Pink in his book "Drive" which include intrinsic motivation and the notion that contingent rewards lead to a loss of autonomy and loss of motivation.As noted by a commentary to DB's entry, Pink seems to rely heavily on the work of Alfie Kohn which can be found in his book,"Punished by Rewards".

The basic idea as it applies to physicians is the following. To offer rewards to someone for tasks that they already find interesting and enjoyable and who are to a large degree driven by their intrinsic motivation to perform at a high level a job that they believe to be important will tend to destroy motivation and eats away at the autonomy which is a major element in that job satisfaction.

Fundamentally P4P ,while touted as a means of improving some nebulous "quality" is a method of control of physicians' activities and succeeds in that control if and only if physicians comply which because of the hegemony of third party payer has become, outside of retainer practices, a fait accompli.

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