PAYING PATIENTS TO TAKE MEDICATIONS

A November, 2015 study published in JAMA showed that patients are more likely to achieve important health care goals if both the patient and the doctor received financial incentives. The researchers studied the lowering of cholesterol levels and provided physicians quarterly payments if their patients met cholesterol goals. Patients received lottery tickets if they took the prescribed drugs appropriately (paymewnts averaged $1022 annually for full adherence). Findings were that the best results were if pohysicians and patients both received cash incentives, lowering cholesterol about 33.6 mg/dl compared to 25.1 to 29.9 in comparison groups.

COMMENT: This is an unnecessary study since it is impractical. Certainly giving money to comply with treatment can work, but who is going to make such payments? Health care costs would be astronomical. Plus, the results were actually not that significant. More wasted money for research that has no clinical benefit. (Refer to Doctor, Say What? Pt 1, pages 316-342, for more detailed information on medical research)


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