Before 1990 Australian general practitioners (GPs) were remunerated according to consultation length. This was assumed to encourage GPs to prescribe more, counsel less and provide fewer treatments than were 'appropriate'. In an attempt to change this behaviour, the remuneration system was altered to reflect the content of consultations. This paper analyses, through the use of multilevel modelling, the effect of content-based descriptors on the discrete choice behaviour of GPs while controlling for patient, GP and practice characteristics. GPs who used content-based descriptors were just as likely to prescribe, counsel and treat compared to GPs who used time-based descriptors.