uu.seUppsala University Publications
Change search
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Financial incentives linked to self-assessment of prescribing patterns: a new approach for quality improvement of drug prescribing in primary care.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Caring Sciences, Health Services Research.
Show others and affiliations
2009 (English)In: Quality in Primary Care, ISSN 1479-1072, Vol. 17, no 3, 179-189 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]


Financial incentives have been suggested to be effective in increasing the quality and efficiency of drug prescribing. Concern has been raised in relation to potential negative consequences on the quality of care.


To describe and analyse the impact of an incentives model linking payment with adherence to drug and therapeutics committee (DTC) guidelines and self-reflection of prescribing pattern in a 'prescribing quality report'.


The study was performed in the county of Stockholm, Sweden, with 139 (out of 154) primary healthcare centres (PHCs) participating in the project and 15 PHCs not participating. The study consisted of two parts: a quantitative observational study of prescribing patterns and a qualitative analysis of the submitted prescribing quality reports. All prescriptions issued from PHCs and dispensed at pharmacies during October to December 2005 and October to December 2006 were analysed, using adherence to the regional DTC guidelines as the main outcome measure. Adherence was assessed using the drug utilisation 90% methodology, i.e. focusing on drugs constituting 90% of the prescribed volume and the proportion of drugs included in the guidelines. The qualitative analysis focused on reports on the quality of drug prescribing submitted by each PHC in early 2007.


The 139 PHCs participating in the programme accounted for 85% of all prescriptions issued in primary care during October to December 2006. Mean adherence to guidelines increased among participating practices by 3.3 percentage units (95% confidence interval (CI) 2.9-3.7%) to 83% (82.6-83.7%) during the year. The adherence among practices not participating increased by 3.1 percentage units (95% CI 1.7-4.4%) to 78.8% (95% CI 76.7-80.9%). The higher adherence achieved during the year corresponded to savings estimated at five times greater than the cost of running the programme including the financial incentives. In addition, many areas for improving prescribing were identified, such as limiting the prescribing of drugs with uncertain safety profiles and documentation as well as reporting adverse drug reactions.


Although no causal effect can be attributed without a control group, we have shown the feasibility of a model linking payment to DTC adherence. This approach with its own quality assessment and goal setting offers an example to other regions and countries of how to increase the quality and efficiency of drug prescribing within limited resources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 17, no 3, 179-189 p.
Keyword [en]
General practice, incentives, prescribing, primary health care, quality indicators
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-125513PubMedID: 19622268OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-125513DiVA: diva2:319927
Available from: 2010-05-20 Created: 2010-05-20 Last updated: 2010-05-25Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text


Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Veg, Aniko
By organisation
Health Services Research
In the same journal
Quality in Primary Care

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar
The number of downloads is the sum of all downloads of full texts. It may include eg previous versions that are now no longer available

Altmetric score

Total: 131 hits
ReferencesLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link