Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for August, 2007

Are High-Quality Cardiac Surgeons Less Likely to Operate on High-Risk Patients?

Physician scorecards have been a highly touted means to improve healthcare quality. One example is NY state’s coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) Surgery Reporting System. One side effect of scorecards is that surgeons may choose to operate on healthier patients in order to maximize their scorecard grade. In fact, over 60 percent of NY cardiothoracic […]

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Corrupted Blood: A model for influenza pandemics

Can video games be used to learn how to best plan for infectious disease pandemics? Time reports on how a World of Warcraft pandemic can be used by epidemiologists: [The] papers document the path of an unexpectedly virulent virtual disease called ‘Corrupted Blood,’ which swept through World of Warcraft’s online characters starting in September 2005. […]

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Cannon on P4P

“…purchasers typically reimburse health care providers on the basis of the volume and intensity of the services provided, rather than the quality or cost-effectiveness of those services. The result is a financing system akin to paying academics on the basis of the volume and intensity of footnotes.” This website has blogged extensively on pay-for-performance schemes […]

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Increased pain medicine sales (not due to Brett Favre purchases)

The International Herald Tribune reports that U.S. pain medicine use has increased 88%. Is that a good thing? Many people will rush to claim that these figures show how pain medication is being abused in the United States (see Brett Favre or Rush Limbaugh). Others will claim that big Pharma’s advertising is leading people to […]

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Why doesn’t my doctor prescribe generics?

A letter in the L.A. Times today from a man in Oceanside, California stated the following: “I read with great interest [“Under the Influence“] in the Aug. 6 Health section because I, at one time, would only use brand-name medications.  Even though I belong to a Medicare HMO, the co-pays sometimes were quite substantial.  I […]

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Best Economics Blogs

The Aaron Schiff’s 26Econ website has a ranking of the top economics blogs based on Technorati data. The Healthcare Economist comes in at number 38.

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Maps on acid

The Undergraduate Economist has three interesting maps to consider. The first draws each country with its size proportional to its PPP-adjusted public sector health spending; the second shows territory size proportional to the number of people 15-49 with HIV. The final map shows each country with its territory size proportional to the percent of worldwide […]

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What do Nonprofit hospitals maximize

Why do nonprofit hospitals exist? If they act exactly as for-profit hospitals, then they should be under private ownership. If they act according to some other maximization strategy, what is it? These are the questions that Jill Horwitz and Austin Nichol look to answer in their 2007 NBER working paper. First, let us examine the […]

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CoR #32

The latest edition of the Cavalcade of Risk is up at Insurance Help Hub.  The posts by Joe Paduda and Michael Cannon are particularly interesting.

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Japan: A culture of savers?

Many economists claim that Americans are spendthrifts and for good reason. The average American has over $9000 of credit card debt. Why don’t we act more like the Japanese and save? A NBER working paper by Charles Yuji Horioka, Wataru Suzuki, Tatsuo Hatta claim that Japan’s high saving rates in the 70s and 80s were […]

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