Friday, November 28, 2008

What a smarter doctor gets you

This paper compares nearly 30,000 patients who were randomly assigned to clinical teams from one of two academic institutions. One institution is among the top medical schools in the country, while the other institution is ranked lower in the quality distribution... Those treated by physicians from the higher-ranked institution have 10-25% shorter and less expensive stays than patients assigned to the lower-ranked institution. Health outcomes are not related to the physician team assignment, and the estimates are precise. Procedure differences across the teams are consistent with the ability of physicians in the lower-ranked institution to substitute time and diagnostic tests for the faster judgments of physicians from the top-ranked institution.
--Joseph J. Doyle, Jr., Steven M. Ewer, Todd H. Wagner, "Returns to Physician Human Capital: Analyzing Patients Randomized to Physician Teams," NBER Working Paper 14174

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