Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Supply of Medical Services' Category

Hospital of the future

The Economist‘s recent article “Prescription for the future” describes some new trends in health care treatment and predicts what the hospital of the future will look like.  Some excerpts are below: When I think of the hospital of the future, I think of a bunch of people sitting in a room full of screens and phones,” […]

Read the rest of this entry »

The kindly physician or the profit maximizer?

In the U.S. physician fees are largely set through regulation or negotiation with insurers. For physicians accepting Medicare or Medicaid patients, fees are set by government entities (i.e., the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for Medicare reimbursement for the former and state Medicaid agencies for the latter). Rates for physicians accepting patients with private […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Supply side health reform

Alex Tabarrok of Marginal Revolution notes that designing a health care system that focuses on benefits to consumers and is important, but one should not ignore how any health care system design affects the supply of health care, in particular incentives to create innovative goods and services. By greater spending on medical research, I mean not […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Immigrant Physicians

Interesting facts from Alex Tabarrok of Marginal Revolution: One percent of all the physicians in the United States come from the six countries targeted in Donald Trump’s new Executive Order. I found that a surprisingly high number. According to the Immigrant Doctors Project, those 7000 physicians provide 14 million doctors’ appointments each year and many of them […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Did the ACA cause industry consolidation?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)–among other things–mandated a number of reforms to the Medicare reimbursement system.  For instance, the ACA created Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and bundled payment initiatives were initiatives.  If Medicare started paying providers more based on quality and total cost of care across all provider settings, one would hypothesize that industry consolidation would accelerate. […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Quality of care and prices

There have been a number of studies that have examined how publicly reporting quality ratings (for health plans, physicians, hospitals or other health care providers) affects market share.  Less attention has been paid to the effect of measured quality on health care prices.  A paper by Huang and Hirth (2016) aim to answer just this […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Machine learning and physician employement

An article by Ajay Agrawal and Avi Goldfarb (“The Simple Economics of Machine Intelligence“) provide an interesting perspective on how machine learning will affect employment with a nice example from the health care sector. All human activities can be described by five high-level components: data, prediction, judgment, action, and outcomes. For example, a visit to the […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Are quality bonus payments based on hospital readmissions reliable?

Maybe not.  That is the answer from a study by Thompson et al. (2016).  Using data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) State Inpatient Databases (SID) for six states (AR, FL, IA, MA, NY,WA)  from 2011 to 2013, the authors measure hospital performance reliability for the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP).  The define reliability as follows: […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Will technology replace nurses?

Many people have feared that robots, computers, and other forms of technology will take people’s jobs. Conventional wisdom holds that healthcare workers have been largely immune from these technological changes to date. However, a new paper from Lu, Rui and Seidmann examines whether technological advances–specifically computerized provider order entry (CPOE)–affects employment at nursing homes. Using […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Does private ownership improve quality of care?

In the case of elderly care services in Sweden, the answer is ‘yes’.  In Bergman et al. (2016), the authors… assemble a large data set on elderly care services in Sweden between 1990 and 2009 and estimate how opening to private provision affected mortality rates – an important and not easily contractible quality dimension – […]

Read the rest of this entry »