Financial Incentives May Speed Radiology Test Results

FRIDAY, Aug. 20 (HealthDay News) — A reward program known as pay-for-performance (PFP) may help accelerate turnaround times for radiology reports, a new study suggests.

Researchers assessed a radiology PFP program at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. Radiology report turnaround times were assessed three months before the program started, immediately after introduction of the program, and two years after the program had ended.

Turnaround times were cut down by about 62 percent between the period before the program was enacted and after the program had ended, according to the report published in the September issue of the American Journal of Roentgenology.

“Rapid completion and ready availability of final radiology reports is considered an essential and important clinical quality metric. PFP incentives designed to motivate academic radiologists to alter their behavior and perform expeditious finalized signature of preliminary reports appear to be successful,” study author Dr. Giles W.L. Boland said in a news release from the American College of Radiology/American Roentgen Ray Society.

PFP programs use one of two approaches: individuals or organizations receive a straight bonus that rewards them for achieving stipulated performance targets; or a percentage of contracted provider revenue is placed at risk if targets are not met.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about medical imaging and radiology.