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Doctors Respond to Incentives for Better Drug Treatment

Tuesday, August 14th, 2012

teens sitting on lawnNew research finds that doctors give teens better drug treatment when the doctors receive financial incentives to do so. Chestnut Health Systems in Normal, Illinois, chose 29 drug treatment organizations and launched them on an evidence-based teen behavior treatment program. Researchers gave a group of therapists $50-200 incentives to conform with program guidelines and use proper treatment tools. These therapists were more likely to give their patients the full treatment recommended. Of the therapists offered financial rewards, 17 percent gave teens the full recommended treatment compared to three percent of therapists who received no financial incentive. However, rewarding physicians did not lead to better results for patients, perhaps because the study tracked the results over a short period of time and had data available for between half and two-thirds of the teens. At the end of the study, between 41 and 51 percent of all patients, no matter which therapist they went to, had abstained from drugs or alcohol in the last month.

Source: Reuters Doctor Incentives Tied to Better Drug Treatment

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