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New Research on Public Reporting, Wellness Programs, and ACOs Featured in Health Affairs

Three articles in the new issue of Health Affairs (March 2013) featured Commonwealth Fund–supported research:

  • Does public reporting change physician behavior? An initiative in Wisconsin to publicly report information about the quality of care led to improved performance by physician groups in many areas, including cholesterol control and breast cancer screening. Physicians indicated they were able to act on some, but not all, of the quality measures reported, forcing them to prioritize their efforts.
  • Can wellness programs reduce costs? A study examining the effects of a wellness program on workers' health service use found a substantial decrease in hospitalizations for the conditions targeted, but the resulting cost-savings were counterbalanced by increased spending for prescription drugs and outpatient care, in addition to the costs of the program and incentives themselves. 
  • What's the best way to assign patients to ACOs? Researchers simulated the effects of the two methods proposed for assigning patients to an accountable care organization, or ACO: prospective attribution and retrospective, or performance-year, attribution. Their analysis suggests that performance-year attribution offers advantages to health care providers.

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