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The impact of financial incentives on the implementation of asthma or diabetes self-management: A systematic review

Jackson, T., Shields, M. D., Heaney, L. G. , Kendall, M., Pearce, C. J. ORCID: 0000-0002-7393-191X, Hui, C. Y. & Pinnock, H. (2017). The impact of financial incentives on the implementation of asthma or diabetes self-management: A systematic review. PLOS ONE, 12(11), article number e0187478. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187478


Introduction: Financial incentives are utilised in healthcare systems in a number of countries to improve quality of care delivered to patients by rewarding practices or practitioners for achieving set targets.

Objectives: To systematically review the evidence investigating the impact of financial incentives for implementation of supported self-management on quality of care including: organisational process outcomes, individual behavioural outcomes, and health outcomes for individuals with asthma or diabetes; both conditions with an extensive evidence base for self-management.

Methods: We followed Cochrane methodology, using a PICOS search strategy to search eight databases in November 2015 (updated May 2017) including a broad range of implementation methodologies. Studies were weighted by robustness of methodology, number of participants and the quality score. We used narrative synthesis due to heterogeneity of studies.

Results: We identified 2,541 articles; 12 met our inclusion criteria. The articles were from the US (n = 7), UK (n = 4) and Canada (n = 1). Measured outcomes were HbA1c tests undertaken and/or the level achieved (n = 10), written action plans for asthma (n = 1) and hospital/emergency department visits (n = 1). Three of the studies were part of a larger incentive scheme including many conditions; one focused on asthma; eight focussed on diabetes. In asthma, the proportion receiving ‘perfect care’ (including providing a written action plan) increased from 4% to 88% in one study, and there were fewer hospitalisations/emergency department visits in another study. Across the diabetes studies, quality-of-care/GP performance scores improved in three, were unchanged in six and deteriorated in one.

Conclusions: Results for the impact of financial incentives for the implementation of self-management were mixed. The evidence in diabetes suggests no consistent impact on diabetic control. There was evidence from a single study of improved process and health outcomes in asthma. Further research is needed to confirm these findings and understand the process by which financial incentives may impact (or not) on care.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2017 Jackson et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HG Finance
R Medicine
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Healthcare Services Research & Management
SWORD Depositor:
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