Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for October, 2017

Measuring hospital quality requires understanding what a hospital is

Many programs–such as Medicare’s Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (HVBP) program–aim to reward hospitals with high quality through higher reimbursement and penalize hospitals with low quality through lower reimbursement.  Will this approach be successful? A commentary by McMahon and Howell (2017) says that hospitals are not really unified entities but rather a collection of workshops. Thus, the […]

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Why are hospital prices crazy?

Sarah Kliff of Vox has an interesting article looking at hospital pricing.  She provides examples of $629 for a Band-Aid in an emergency department to over $3,000 to look at a bruised finger. Part of these high costs are not just physician time and treatment materials but a facility fee.  The facility fee is basically the […]

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Are new cancer treatments improving survival or quality of life?

This is the question that a recent study in BMJ by Davis et al. (2017) attempts to answer.  They use data from 48 cancer drugs for 68 indications that were approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) between 2009 and 2013.  Among these 68 indications, they found that: only 35 (51%) were associated with significant improvement […]

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Outcomes-based contracts: Where are we now?

“Value” is the latest trend in health care.  However, how does value get integrated into reimbursement?  One approach to tying value to prices is through and outcomes based contract (OBC) where the reimbursement for a drug will depend on the real world outcomes experienced by the relevant patient population. A study by Nazareth et al. […]

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HWR is up

Hank Stern of InsureBlog hosts this week’s “Pink edition” Health Wonk Review. Check it out. Also of note this week is that Richard Thaler has the 2017 Nobel prize in economics.  For more on Dr. Thaler’s work, check out the Nobel Prize website.

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Genius

The 2017 MacArthur “Genius” Fellows were awarded this week.  One fellow of particular interest to this blog is mathematician and statistician Emmanuel Candès.  The Stanford University professor uses complex mathematical structures to improve the health care system.  As stated on the MacArthur website: Using an approach that draws on concepts from linear algebra and L1 minimization […]

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Mid-week Links

Why is health care in Singapore cheap? Increased use of biologics to treat patients with RA. Not ‘Rockin the suburbs’ Health Economics using Stata review Value of later school starts: $83 billion?

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The problem of cutting Medicaid rates

A new paper by Sharma et al. (2017) finds that Medicaid patients living in states with lower Medicaid reimbursement have more challenges accessing primary care services. We found that states with higher Medicaid fees had higher probabilities of appointment offers and shorter wait times for Medicaid patients, and lower probabilities of appointment offers and longer […]

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How to reduce spending on unnecessary care (the answer is not what you think)

The way to solve this question is easy, right?  The first step is to define what constitutes unnecessary care.  Then identify the highest cost manifestations of unnecessary care.  Then, create interventions that stop providers from providing this care.  Simple, right? Maybe not according to a paper by Mafi et al. (2017).  The authors appear to […]

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Healthcare Economist Named Top Public Health Blog

The Healthcare Economist was named one of the top 75 public health blogs (#22) by Feedspot.  Exciting news!

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