An updated analysis of “physician value” conducted by GNS Healthcare and funded by the Business Health Care Group (BHCG) made few changes to provide more meaningful data compared to the group’s original study released two years ago.
Concerns with the original study were documented in a white paper
produced by the Benefit Services Group, Analytics (BSGA).* It cautioned that using incomplete data to rank physicians is unlikely to improve health care delivery, but could lead to unnecessary market disruption and undermine other, more credible efforts to identify best practices.
While a final report was not made available, the updated BHCG study as discussed in webinar on Dec. 8 appeared to again focus on primary care physicians, although some data was provided during the presentation for specialists as well. While the updated study uses two-years-worth of data, which is an improvement, BSGA indicates most analyses use three-to-five-years-worth of claims data. There were few other notable differences in the study methodology.
BHCG again touted the results of the study, indicating they could be used to steer patients to specific providers. The study includes just 20% of all primary care physicians in the state, using pre-COVID data from 2018 and 2019. These and other methodology challenges lead to a stated and low 80% confidence level in the results.
According to the BSGA study, importantly, Wisconsin is unique in that much of the care in the state is provided through integrated systems. This means that the primary care physician is part of an overall team that helps manage care for a patient. In ignoring that, the study could result in worse outcomes and fragmented care and have the exact opposite effect of what is intended.
*The BSGA white paper was partially funded by the Healthy Wisconsin Alliance, Inc., an advocacy organization that informs the public about health care issues, attitudes and trends in Wisconsin and is affiliated with the Wisconsin Hospital Association.