Economic incentives and physicians' delivery of preventive care: a systematic review

Am J Prev Med. 2005 Feb;28(2):234-40. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2004.10.013.


A systematic review of the randomized trial literature examining the impact of financial incentives on provider preventive care delivery was conducted. English-language studies published between 1966 and 2002 that addressed primary or secondary preventive care or health promotion behaviors were included in the review. Six studies that met the inclusion criteria were identified, which generated eight different findings. The literature is sparse. Of the eight financial interventions reviewed, only one led to a significantly greater provision of preventive services. The lack of a significant relationship does not necessarily imply that financial incentives cannot motivate physicians to provide more preventive care. The rewards offered in these studies tend to be small. Therefore, the results suggest that small rewards will not motivate doctors to change their preventive care routines.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Delivery of Health Care / economics*
  • Humans
  • Immunization / economics
  • Mass Screening / economics
  • Physician Incentive Plans / statistics & numerical data*
  • Preventive Health Services / economics*
  • United States