Has incentive payment improved venous thrombo-embolism risk assessment and treatment of hospital in-patients?
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This paper focuses on financial incentives rewarding successful implementation of guidelines in the UK National Health Service (NHS). In particular, it assesses the implementation of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) venous thrombo-embolism (VTE) guidance in 2010 on the risk assessment and secondary prevention of VTE in hospital in-patients and the financial incentives driving successful implementation introduced by the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation for Payment Framework (CQUIN) for 2010-2011. We systematically compared the implementation of evidence-based national guidance on VTE prevention across two specialities (general medicine and orthopaedics) in four hospital sites in the greater South West of England by auditing and evaluating VTE prevention activity for 2009 (i.e. before the 2010 NICE guideline) and late 2010 (almost a year after the guideline was published). Analysis of VTE prevention activity reported in 816 randomly selected orthopaedic and general medical in-patient medical records was complemented by a qualitative study into the practical responses to revised national guidance. This paper's contribution to knowledge is to suggest that by financially rewarding the implementation of national guidance on VTE prevention, paradoxes and contradictions have become apparent between the 'payment by volume system' of Healthcare Resource Groups and the 'payment by results' system of CQUIN.
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