Urban-Rural Definitions

How do you define if an area is rural? A paper by Bennett et al. (2019) provides some options. Population density. This is one of the simplest approaches and can be applied to any geographic unit. However, it may be problematic for geographic units with a mix of urban and rural sections. MSA-based. The Office…

How good is your mental health care? Depends where you live

Access to physician services and pharmaceuticals is vital–particularly among patients with serious mental illness–to insure patients receive the care they need. However, the likelihood patients receive this care depends on where they live. A paper by Manchester (2018) examines a cohort of patients eligible for both Medicare and U.S. Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and…

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…

Geographic Variation in the Quality and Cost of Care for Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is the title of my latest article in JMCP co-authored with Arijit Ganguli,  Yuri Sanchez Gonzalez, Jin Joo Shim, and Seth A. Seabury.  The paper’s abstract is below. BACKGROUND: There is considerable push to improve value in health care by simultaneously increasing quality while lowering or containing costs. However, for diseases that are best…

How useful are health rankings?

According to an HSR editorial by Stephan Arndt, the answer is not very.  Generally, county level health rankings are too variable to be of much use.  Further, while some metropolitan regions may have large sample sizes, the sample sizes in less densely populated rural counties will be far lower leading to less precise estimates of any…