In this 4-minute video, Jayson Harpster, Product Director for Clarify’s provider incentive software and program, discusses how payers can influence practice patterns and drive provider behavior change inside busy medical practices. Watch to learn three critical components of designing an effective provider incentive program.


In health care, we often have tons of data with no clear way to use it to drive real change. But lots of physicians and researchers have poured themselves into understanding how to drive change inside busy medical practices. Now, we’re beginning to see proven, repeatable, and scalable approaches that can work in almost any market and in either a traditional fee-for-service arrangement or a value-based care contract.

My name is Jason Harpster and I’m a product director at Clarify Health. I’ve had the privilege of working with leaders like Dr. Zeke Emanuel and Dr. Amol Navathe, as we’ve studied what does and doesn’t change physician behavior across five pilot programs with hundreds of physicians and practices.

When physicians are positively incentivized with personalized, salient and timely rewards, we’ve seen them change behavior and significantly reduce total cost of care. But, building and rolling out those kinds of programs is really hard. Many payer programs fail to get physician buy in or drive sustained change. Doctors are often skeptical of payer programs and hesitant to make any changes for one specific payer. In our experience, it took a deliberate multimodal outreach strategy to reach physicians, have a conversation with them, and address their concerns before the program went live. Most voluntary programs struggled to enroll more than a few percent of their eligible physicians. But by engaging with physicians, we were able to successfully enroll 35% of our potential prospects in our first year.

The incentive program needs to be compelling

When engaging with physicians, the program itself needs to be compelling. Many payer programs struggle to convince physicians that it’s worth their time to participate. The incentives need to be large enough to be psychologically meaningful and the conditions to earn the incentives need to be fair. That also means the program needs to target a tangible behavior that the physician believes they can control.

Ensure your program is personalized and consistent

Another way to make the program more compelling is through personalization. Many payer programs apply one size fits all conditions and on programs and we’ve seen a better response from more personalized recommendations, goals and incentives. A strong and compelling onboarding experience is critical to jumpstart behavior change and then consistent engagement is necessary to sustain progress. 

Deliver rewards in a timely fashion

Many programs have long intervals between communication with physicians or they require the physician to proactively reach out or log into a portal even worse. Many of those programs may take over a year of data reconciliation before physicians receive any incentive payments to reward and reinforce behavior change. In those cases, physicians can easily be distracted or revert back to previous workflows.

It’s key to deliver positive praise and financial incentives as quickly as possible when physicians are succeeding in the program. And it’s equally important to reach out and diagnose problems, when, when they are struggling In our pilot programs, we saw over 80% of physicians were opening our email progress reports and all of them engaged with our program coaches. That level of engagement helped power 14% behavior change and $5 in savings for every $1 spent on incentives.

Of course, if this kind of work was easy, everyone would be doing it. There are very good reasons why most programs fail. And it has taken a lot of research across many institutions to identify these best practices.


Clarify Advance

If you’re considering ways to improve the value of care delivered to your members or are interested in improving the ROI on your current provider incentive programs, click here to learn about Clarify’s behavioral economics-based provider incentive program, Clarify Advance.