Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for June, 2017

Does more spending improve outcomes?

A number of studies have claimed that increased health expenditures may result in no better, or even worse outcomes.  For instance, a paper by Fisher et al. (2003) looking at patients with acute myocardial infarction, colorectal cancer, or hip fracture finds that “Quality of care in higher-spending regions was no better on most measures and […]

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Quotation of the day: Health as capital

The thought that health is a form of capital goes way back to the 19th century.  Max von Pettenkofer compares health and economics and health states with capital in the following quotation: Just as the effort to obtain greater profits, an not merely fear of losses, is the driving force in economics, so too it […]

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Can financial incentives increase the effectiveness of weight loss programs?

As an economist, I would say “of course”!  Increasing the price (the reward for weight loss) generally leads to an increase in supply (of efforts to lose weight).  However, there is evidence that in some cases, adding a financial incentive can actually reduce effort.  For instance, Uri Gneezy and Aldo Rustichini (2000) found that adding […]

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Mid-week Links

ACA and healthcare spending. Risk adjustment and the ACA. Value framework harmonization? Is value-based pricing coming for drugs? “…it also caused mutations to more than a thousand other unintended genes“

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What can you learn from quality or cost outliers?

Many researchers have pointed to (positive) cost or quality outliers and made the claims that if only all physicians, or hospitals, or regions could be like these high quality or low cost providers/regions, then the health care system would be much more efficient.  Research teams such as the Dartmouth Atlas are famous for finding these conclusions.  […]

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Are multiple sclerosis treatments worth the cost? Comparing how treatment “value” is determined by five cost effectiveness analyses

by Daniel Kantor, Michelle Brauer and Jason Shafrin As drug prices continue to rise, many patients, payers and policymakers are asking whether the treatment benefits justify the cost. One method favored by health technology assessment (HTA) bodies for making this decision in a formal manner is to conduct a cost effectiveness analyses (CEA).  However, there […]

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Healthcare Economist Named Top Economics Blog

The Healthcare Economist blog was ranked as one of the Top 100 economics blogs according to the Intelligent Economist website.  In fact, this site was listed  first under the “sub-field” economics blog category (where clearly my “sub-field” is healthcare).  I would like to thank the Intelligent Economist site for this honor.

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A cancer tool to improve survival?

A recent paper by Basch et al. 2017, found that electronic patient-reported symptom monitoring improved patient overall survival by 5 months.  This finding came from a randomized clinical trial at Memorial Sloan Kettering. For patients in the arm with electronic patient-reported symptom monitoring, when “…participants reported a severe or worsening symptom, an email alert was triggered to a clinical […]

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What does “value” mean to patients?

There are numerous value frameworks being developed by an alphabet soup of organizations including ACC/AHA, ASCO, ICER, MSKCC, NCCN, and others.  These organizations generally represent providers or payer perspective on value.  But what does “value” mean to patients? The National Patient Advocate Foundation (PAF) provides their thoughts in a recent white paper titled “The Roadmap to […]

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Diagnostic Ability and Quality of Care

Quality of care often is seen as how physicians and other health care providers treat patients with a given disease.  Accurately diagnosing the disease a patient has, however, is in almost all cases a necessary condition to provide high-quality treatment.  Nevertheless, a physician’s ability to accurately diagnose a disease is rarely measured within exsting quality […]

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