(RxWiki News) Financial reward incentives for general practitioners in the United Kingdom who successfully treat a number of patients with high blood pressure have not proven effective.
Researchers found that nationally set targets for treating patients with hypertension (consistent blood pressure measuring 140 mmHg over 90 mmHg or higher) did not make a discernible difference in care improvements. About half of the UK population over age 50 has hypertension (that number correlates to about two out of three patients of the same age in the United States), which is one of the most treatable -- yet undertreated -- cardiovascular risk problems.
The Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) for general practice, a voluntary system of financial incentives funded by the UK National Health Service, began in 2004 and includes targets for general practitioners to reach in demonstrating care for patients with hypertension and other conditions.
Researchers looked at data from The Health Improvement Network (THIN), a large database of primary care records from 358 UK general practices, and found 470,725 patients diagnosed with hypertension between January 2000 and August 2007. They looked at blood pressure rates, control of blood pressure and intensity of care and found none of the changes in these categories could be attributed to QOF targets.
Researchers also found no identifiable impact from QOF targets on the collective rates of stroke, heart attacks, renal failure, heart failure or mortality.