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Decision-making in General Practice: The importance of laboratory analyses when choosing medical actions


  • Fauli, Siri

    () (The Norwegian Medical Association, The Norwegian Quality Improvement of)

  • Thue, Geir

    (The Norwegian Quality Improvement of Laboratory Services in Primary Care)


The focus of this study is the effect of a laboratory analysis and socioeconomic variables on choosing medical actions in a specific situation (a clinical vignette - a young woman, Mrs Hansen, with dyspepsia - presented to GPs). We assume that the GP’s decision depends on what he or she thinks is best for the patients, based on the best clinical evidence available. Significant variables associated with the choice of medical actions are: the result of the Helicobacter pylori (HP) test, the GP’s stated importance of HPRT, the location of the general practice, the GP recommending sick leave, the GP’s stated probability that Mrs Hansen’s symptoms are due to a H.pylori infection after the HP-result is known, and how the GP follows up the patient. Our results show that the HP-analysis has a significant and major influence on the GPs choice of medical actions. Therefore the quality of the analysis is likely to affect the patients’ health and social costs. Hence institutions for quality monitoring and improvement are important elements of health care reforms. Such institutions should balance cost and benefits of quality improving measures, and will be the focus of closer studies in our future research.

Suggested Citation

  • Fauli, Siri & Thue, Geir, 2009. "Decision-making in General Practice: The importance of laboratory analyses when choosing medical actions," HERO On line Working Paper Series 2005:12, Oslo University, Health Economics Research Programme.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:oslohe:2005_012

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Hoy, Michael & Polborn, Mattias, 2000. "The value of genetic information in the life insurance market," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 78(3), pages 235-252, November.
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    4. Strohmenger, R. & Wambach, A., 2000. "Adverse selection and categorical discrimination in the health insurance markets: the effects of genetic tests," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(2), pages 197-218, March.
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    6. Hoel, Michael & Iversen, Tor, 2002. "Genetic testing when there is a mix of compulsory and voluntary health insurance," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(2), pages 253-270, March.
    7. Doherty, Neil A. & Thistle, Paul D., 1996. "Adverse selection with endogenous information in insurance markets," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 63(1), pages 83-102, December.
    8. Kuehn, Astrid & Wambach, Achim, 2001. "Breakdown of Will and the Value of Information," CEPR Discussion Papers 3111, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    9. repec:adr:anecst:y:2006:i:82:p:03 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Kreps, David M & Porteus, Evan L, 1978. "Temporal Resolution of Uncertainty and Dynamic Choice Theory," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 46(1), pages 185-200, January.
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    More about this item


    Discrete choice models; Decision-making; Primary Health Care;

    JEL classification:

    • I12 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Health Behavior

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