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A survey conducted by the Rand Corporation has found that many doctors are paid according to the number of patients they treat rather than the quality of care they provide. For this reason, physicians could fail to consider the patient’s complete recovery, cure, and proper treatment.

The researchers evaluated statistics and realized that more than 80% of primary care doctors receive payments according to the number of patients they treat. When it came to physician specialists, the number jumped to 90%.

While health institutions consider other factors such as quality of care and performance in their financial payment system, this usually accounted for 5% for physician specialists and 9% for primary care doctors.

Less of a doctor’s compensation is dependent on the value

According to Rand’s Physician policy researcher, Rachel O. Reid, although health care institutions now recognize the need for value in care and are implementing value-based systems in their programs, how physicians are paid doesn’t reflect value.

Instead, many institutions are focused on maximizing revenue. For this reason, they implement incentives that encourage doctors to see more patients.

Many experts are trying to introduce policies that promote quality care among doctors and reduce spending growth. These policies are to improve the care that patients receive. Moreover, the number of doctors and the size of the healthcare system have risen.

How researchers conducted the study

The researchers looked into 31 clinics from four U.S states. They reviewed physicians’ performance, analyzed documents on compensation, and interviewed heads of the organizations. They did this to understand how payment worked for physicians.

The team realized that doctors who wanted more compensation would see more patients increase the services they offered. They also found that 70% of the practices involved took this approach. Furthermore, the number of patients they treated often made up 66% of their salary.

The team also concluded that doctors don’t have the incentive to spend more time with patients to ensure they get the best treatment possible. In addition, leaders of the organizations pointed out that doctors could make more money if they offered more services.

The researchers believe that medical care practitioners need to focus more on the value they give their patients rather than the number of patients they treat. This will bring significant improvement to the U.S healthcare system.