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Using pay-for-performance to introduce changes in primary healthcare centres in Spain: first year results

IntroductionThe article describes evaluation of the first year of implementation of a process-management project and a quality-improvement programme linked to economic incentives carried out at CAPSE (Consortium of Primary Healthcare of Eixample, Barcelona City, Catalonia, Spain). ObjectiveTo evaluate the changes and to describe the experience of a variable payment scheme linked to quality objectives in two primary healthcare centres in Spain. MethodData from a variable payment scheme for professionals, where the variable payment consisted of three parts, were analysed. The three areas included in the variable payment were the results of management by objectives, performance evaluation, and participation in a quality-improvement programme. Parallel to this the actions of continuous quality improvement that had been proposed during 2006 were described and evaluated. ResultsParticipation among personnel in the quality- improvement programme was high, including 96% of doctors and 100% of nurses. Seventy-two improvement actions were proposed and accepted; 56% of the improvement actions took place within the established period of time, 18% did not finish within the deadline and 26% could not be accomplished for various reasons. DiscussionThe following areas needing improving were detected: process-management training for healthcare professionals, process orientation to the patients, the need to develop a communication plan, the selection of process and outcomes indicators, appropriate use of information systems and the time spent in implementation of the qualityimprovement programme. ConclusionOur preliminary results are encouraging. More studies and comparison of similar experiences are required before widespread use of this system can be recommended.


Josep Vilaseca, Jaume Benavent, Concha Juan, Joan Clos, Ethel Sequeira, Nuria Gimferrer

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