Article

Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 23, Issue 2, pp 164-168

First online:

The Impact of Expressions of Treatment Efficacy and Out-of-pocket Expenses on Patient and Physician Interest in Osteoporosis Treatment: Implications for Pay-for-performance Programs

  • Christine A. SinskyAffiliated withDepartment of Internal Medicine, Medical Associates Clinic and Health Plans Email author 
  • , Valerie Foreman-HoffmanAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Carver College of Medicine, University of IowaCenter for Research in the Implementation of Innovative Strategies for Practice (CRIISP), Iowa City Veterans Administration Medical Center
  • , Peter CramAffiliated withDivision of General Internal Medicine, Department of Internal Medicine, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) are increasingly used as the basis for pay-for-performance (P4P) programs. It is unclear how support for guidelines varies when treatment efficacy is expressed in varying mathematically equivalent ways.

OBJECTIVES

To assess: (1) how patient and provider compliance with osteoporosis CPGs varies when pharmacotherapy efficacy is presented as relative risk reduction (RRR) versus absolute risk reduction (ARR) and (2) the impact of increasing out-of-pocket drug expenditures on acceptance of guideline concordant therapy.

DESIGN

Cross-sectional survey of patients and physicians.

SUBJECTS AND SETTING

Female patients age >50 years and providers drawn from academic and community outpatient clinics.

MEASUREMENTS

Patient and provider acceptance of pharmacotherapy when treatment efficacy (reduction in hip fractures) was expressed alternatively in relative terms (35% RRR) versus absolute terms (1% ARR); acceptance of pharmacotherapy as patient drug copayment increased from 0% to 100% of the total drug costs.

RESULTS

Compliance with CPGs fell significantly when the expression of treatment benefit was switched from RRR to ARR for both patients (86% vs 57% compliance; P < .001) and physicians (97% vs 56% compliance; P < .001). Increasing drug copayment from 0% to 10% of total drug cost decreased patient compliance with CPGs from 80% to 57% (P < .001) but did not impact physician compliance. With increasing levels of copay, both patient and provider interest in treatment decreased.

LIMITATIONS

Respondents may not have fully understood the risks and benefits associated with osteoporosis and its treatment.

CONCLUSION

Patient and provider interest in CPG-recommended treatment for osteoporosis is reduced when treatment benefit is expressed as ARR rather than RRR. In addition, minimal increases in drug copayment significantly decreased patient, but not provider, interest in osteoporosis treatment. Designers of P4P programs should consider details including expressions of treatment benefit and patients’ out-of-pocket costs when developing measures to assess quality-of-care.

Keywords

treatment efficacy out-of-pocket expenses osteoporosis treatment pay-for-performance programs