Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project Databases

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s (AHRQ)  Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) is a family of databases and tools intended to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of the U.S.   health care system.  HCUP results from Federal-State-Industry partnership to build a comprehensive all payer data system.  A summary of the databases available from […]

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Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System (MPSMS)

The Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System (MPSMS) is a national surveillance project aimed at identifying the rates of specific adverse events within the Medicare population.  It is administered by the Quality Improvement Group (QIG) in the Office of Clinical Standards and Quality (OCSQ).  The goal of the project is not to monitor physicians for best practices or […]

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All-Payer Claims Data

One of the challenges of studying import issues in health economics is that the patients often come in and out of your data file.  For instance, beneficiaries often switch their private health insurance plan, or can become eligible for public insurance (e.g., Medicare or Medicaid) or the individual may lose their insurace coverage.  In each […]

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The Impact of Comparative Effectiveness Research on Health Care Spending

Comparative Effectiveness Research (CER), as it name suggests, compares how well different medicines treat a given disease.  Politicians claim that using CER findings can help improve quality and decrease cost.  If one treatment produces better health outcomes on average than another and also costs less, we should always make people use that treatment, right? Not […]

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Common Efficiency Measures

Measuring efficiency is a difficult business. As AHRQ,  “In most cases, individuals and firms will define efficiency as a relationship between what it costs them and what service or outcome they receive, rather than as a trait inherent in the provider.” Further, efficiency can be measured as either production efficiency or allocative efficiency.  “For example, […]

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Ten questions to ask your doctor

After viewing a cute ad, I went to the AHRQ homepage.  The agency gives a nice list of 10 recommended questions you should ask your doctor. Additional questions directly pertaining to specific types of care are also available. What is the test for? How many times have you done this? When will I get the […]

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$1.1 billion for Comparative Effectiveness Research

Regarding my post on Monday, Obama’s stimulus package–a.k.a. the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA)–includes 1.1 billion dollars for clinical comparative effectiveness research. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), ARRA “allocates $1.1 billion for comparative clinical effectiveness research, including $300 million for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and $400 million each […]

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Should the U.S. get NICE?

All health services researches know that comparative-effectiveness research is a vital link towards improving quality and decreasing cost.  Comparative effectiveness examines different medical treatments and evaluates which are the most cost effective.  The UK’s NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) publishes clinical appraisals regarding which treatments the NHS should cover. Should the U.S. create a […]

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