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The effect of a mystery shopper scheme on prescriptions in primary care

Author

Listed:
  • Cheo, Roland

    (1Center for Economic Research, Shandong University, China)

  • Ge, Ge

    (Department of Health Management and Health Economics)

  • Godager, Geir

    () (Department of Health Management and Health Economics)

  • Liu, Rugang

    (4Center for Health Economic Experiments and Public Policy, School of Public Health, Shandong University)

  • Wang, Qiqi

    (School of Economics, Shandong University, China)

  • Wang, Jian

    (Center for Health Economic Experiments and Public Policy, School of Public Health, Shandong University)

Abstract

Health care systems in many countries are still characterized by limited availability of provider performance data which can be used to design and implement welfare improving reforms in the health sector. We question whether a simple mystery shopper scheme can be an effective measure to improve primary care quality in such settings. Using a randomized treatment-control design, we conduct a field experiment in primary care clinics in a Chinese city. We investigate whether informing clinics in the treatment group of a forthcoming mystery shopper audit influences the physicians’ prescribing behavior. As expected, we find that antibiotic medications are prescribed to patients in the majority of cases, even though such prescribing is not in accordance with current recommendations or guidelines. While the intervention did not cause significant reduction in antibiotic prescriptions, our results show that a mystery shopper scheme reduces overall unnecessary prescribing.

Suggested Citation

  • Cheo, Roland & Ge, Ge & Godager, Geir & Liu, Rugang & Wang, Qiqi & Wang, Jian, 2018. "The effect of a mystery shopper scheme on prescriptions in primary care," HERO Online Working Paper Series 2018:1, University of Oslo, Health Economics Research Programme.
  • Handle: RePEc:hhs:oslohe:2018_001
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Currie, Janet & Lin, Wanchuan & Zhang, Wei, 2011. "Patient knowledge and antibiotic abuse: Evidence from an audit study in China," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 30(5), pages 933-949.
    2. Godager, Geir & Hennig-Schmidt, Heike & Iversen, Tor, 2016. "Does performance disclosure influence physicians’ medical decisions? An experimental study," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 131(PB), pages 36-46.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Field Experiment; Analysis of Health Care Markets; Government Policy; Information and Product Quality; Social Responsibility.;

    JEL classification:

    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets
    • I18 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
    • L15 - Industrial Organization - - Market Structure, Firm Strategy, and Market Performance - - - Information and Product Quality
    • M14 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - Corporate Culture; Diversity; Social Responsibility

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