Paying providers bonuses for higher quality and more efficient care is a great way to control healthcare prices, but publishing provider cost and quality data is not, according to a survey of healthcare opinion leaders for the Commonwealth Fund. Fifty-seven percent of the 289 respondents said pay-for-performance was "extremely" or "very" effective in controlling healthcare prices, the highest rating of any cost-containment method in the survey. Just 35% considered disclosing comparative provider performance data to the public to be similarly effective for containing costs. Fifty-six percent of respondents saw disease management for high-cost conditions and enhanced primary-care case management as highly effective tools for reducing overutilization of services. Some 46% viewed healthcare information technology as a similarly effective utilization-management tool. About one-third of respondents believed in the effectiveness of having consumers pay a substantially higher share of their healthcare costs.
Harris Interactive conducted the survey by e-mail in April. Respondents came from a wide array of backgrounds -- including academia, business, consumer groups, government and healthcare delivery -- and were either nominated by other healthcare experts or drawn from published lists of experts. Read the survey results. -- by Joseph Conn