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…

Avoiding unnecessary care: Does insurance coverage matter?

Consumer Reports‘ “Choosing Wisely” initiative aims to identify high-cost, low-value treatments that can often be avoided.  One question remains is why do providers still offer these services?  Do payer coverage policies or reimbursement rules affect these choices? A paper by Colla et al. (2017) attempts to answer that question.  The authors used commercial payer claims data…

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…

What can Geographic Variation in Health Care Spending Tell Us About Efficiency?

In a project with the Institute of Medicine (IOM), I examined the sources of regional variation in Medicare and Medicaid spending and spending growth. The IOM wisely concluded that policymakers should target decision-makerss rather than geography when attempting to improve the efficiency of the healthcare system. I recent paper by the Louise Sheniner of the…

Regional Variation: Interpretation

The quality and efficiency of the care patients receive is often determined by the accident of where they live and seek care. – Dartmouth Atlas Brief Within-[region] variation in spending and utilization is significantly larger than the across [region] variation for both Medicare and Medicaid.” – Report for the Institute of Medicine. Which statement is…