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Truly inefficient or providing better quality of care? Analysing the relationship between riskadjusted hospital costs and patients’ health outcomes

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  • Nils Gutacker

    (Centre for Health Economics, University of York, UK)

  • Chris Bojke

    (Centre for Health Economics, University of York, UK)

  • Silvio Daidone

    (Centre for Health Economics, University of York, UK)

  • Nancy Devlin

    (Office for Health Economics, London, UK)

  • David Parkin

    (NHS South East Cost, Horley, UK)

  • Andrew Street

    (Centre for Health Economics, University of York, UK)

Abstract

Accounting for variation in the quality of care is a major challenge for the assessment of hospital cost performance. Because data on patients’ health improvement are generally not available, existing studies have resorted to inherently incomplete outcome measures such as mortality or re-admission rates. This opens up the possibility that providers of high quality care are falsely deemed inefficient and vice versa. This study makes use of a novel dataset of routinely collected patient-reported outcomes measures (PROMs) to i) assess the degree to which cost variation is associated with variation in patients’ health gain and ii) explore how far judgement about hospital cost performance changes when health outcomes are accounted for. We use multilevel modelling to address the clustering of patients in providers and isolate unexplained cost variation. Our results provide some evidence of a U-shaped relationship between risk-adjusted costs and outcomes for hip replacement surgery. For the other three investigated procedures, the estimated relationship is sensitive to the choice of PROM instrument. We do not observe substantial changes in estimates of cost performance when outcomes are explicitly accounted for.

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  • Nils Gutacker & Chris Bojke & Silvio Daidone & Nancy Devlin & David Parkin & Andrew Street, 2011. "Truly inefficient or providing better quality of care? Analysing the relationship between riskadjusted hospital costs and patients’ health outcomes," Working Papers 068cherp, Centre for Health Economics, University of York.
  • Handle: RePEc:chy:respap:68cherp
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    2. Laura Di Giorgio & Massimo Filippini & Giuliano Masiero, 2014. "The relationship between costs and quality in nonprofit nursing homes," IdEP Economic Papers 1402, USI Università della Svizzera italiana.
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    5. France R. M. Portrait & Onno van der Galiën & Bernard Van den Berg, 2016. "Measuring Healthcare Providers' Performances Within Managed Competition Using Multidimensional Quality and Cost Indicators," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 25(4), pages 408-423, April.
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    8. L. Di Giorgio & M. Filippini & G. Masiero, 2016. "Is higher nursing home quality more costly?," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 17(8), pages 1011-1026, November.
    9. Tor Iversen & Eline Aas & Gunnar Rosenqvist & Unto Häkkinen & on behalf of the EuroHOPE study group, 2015. "Comparative Analysis of Treatment Costs in EUROHOPE," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(S2), pages 5-22, December.
    10. Steenhuis, Sander & Groeneweg, Niels & Koolman, Xander & Portrait, France, 2017. "Good, better, best? A comprehensive comparison of healthcare providers’ performance: An application to physiotherapy practices in primary care," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 121(12), pages 1225-1232.
    11. J. Buckell & A. Smith & R. Longo & D. Holland, 2015. "Efficiency, heterogeneity and cost function analysis: empirical evidence from pathology services in the National Health Service in England," Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 47(31), pages 3311-3331, July.
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    13. Sverre A. C. Kittelsen & Kjartan S. Anthun & Fanny Goude & Ingrid M. S. Huitfeldt & Unto Häkkinen & Marie Kruse & Emma Medin & Clas Rehnberg & Hanna Rättö & on behalf of the EuroHOPE study group, 2015. "Costs and Quality at the Hospital Level in the Nordic Countries," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(S2), pages 140-163, December.
    14. Francesco Longo & Luigi Siciliani & Hugh Gravelle & Rita Santos, 2017. "Do hospitals respond to rivals' quality and efficiency? A spatial panel econometric analysis," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 26(S2), pages 38-62, September.
    15. John Buckell & Andrew Smith & Roberta Longo & David Holland, 2013. "Health inefficiency and unobservable heterogeneity - empirical evidence from pathology services in the UK National Health Service," Working Papers 1307, Academic Unit of Health Economics, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds.
    16. Sara Jamalabadi & Vera Winter & Jonas Schreyögg, 2020. "A Systematic Review of the Association Between Hospital Cost/price and the Quality of Care," Applied Health Economics and Health Policy, Springer, vol. 18(5), pages 625-639, October.
    17. Unto Häkkinen & Gunnar Rosenqvist & Tor Iversen & Clas Rehnberg & Timo T. Seppälä & on behalf of the EuroHOPE study group, 2015. "Outcome, Use of Resources and Their Relationship in the Treatment of AMI, Stroke and Hip Fracture at European Hospitals," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 24(S2), pages 116-139, December.
    18. Seghieri, Chiara & Berta, Paolo & Nuti, Sabina, 2019. "Geographic variation in inpatient costs for Acute Myocardial Infarction care: Insights from Italy," Health Policy, Elsevier, vol. 123(5), pages 449-456.

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    Keywords

    hospital costs; efficiency; patient outcomes; PROMs; cost-quality relationship;
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