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The Role of Information in Medical Markets: An Analysis of Publicly Reported Outcomes in Cardiac Surgery

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  • David M. Cutler
  • Robert S. Huckman
  • Mary Beth Landrum

Abstract

During the past two decades, several public and private organizations have initiated programs to report publicly on the quality of medical care provided by specific hospitals and physicians. These programs have sparked broad debate among economists and policy makers concerning whether, and to what extent, they have improved or harmed medical productivity. We take advantage of a cross-sectional time series of different hospitals to address two fundamental questions about quality reporting. First, we examine whether report cards affect the distribution of patients across hospitals. Second, we determine whether report cards lead to improved medical quality among hospitals identified as particularly bad or good performers. Our data are from the longest-standing effort to measure and report health care quality the Cardiac Surgery Reporting System (CSRS) in New York State. Using data for 1991 through 1999, we find that CSRS affected both the volume of cases and future quality at hospitals identified as poor performers. Poor performing hospitals lost relatively healthy patients to competing facilities and experienced subsequent improvements in their performance as measured by risk-adjusted mortality.
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Suggested Citation

  • David M. Cutler & Robert S. Huckman & Mary Beth Landrum, 2004. "The Role of Information in Medical Markets: An Analysis of Publicly Reported Outcomes in Cardiac Surgery," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(2), pages 342-346, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:94:y:2004:i:2:p:342-346
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/0002828041301993
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    1. David Dranove & Daniel Kessler & Mark McClellan & Mark Satterthwaite, 2003. "Is More Information Better? The Effects of "Report Cards" on Health Care Providers," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 111(3), pages 555-588, June.
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    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health

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