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Physician Practice Style and Patient Health Outcomes: The Case of Heart Attacks

Author

Listed:
  • Janet Currie
  • W. Bentley MacLeod
  • Jessica Van Parys

Abstract

When a patient arrives at the Emergency Room with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), the provider on duty must quickly decide how aggressively the patient should be treated. Using Florida data on all such patients from 1992-2014, we decompose practice style into two components: The provider’s probability of conducting invasive procedures on the average patient (which we characterize as aggressiveness), and the responsiveness of the choice of procedure to the patient’s characteristics. We show that within hospitals and years, patients with more aggressive providers have consistently higher costs and better outcomes. Since all patients benefit from higher utilization of invasive procedures, targeting procedure use to the most appropriate patients benefits these patients at the expense of the less appropriate patients. We also find that the most aggressive and responsive physicians are young, male, and trained in top 20 schools.

Suggested Citation

  • Janet Currie & W. Bentley MacLeod & Jessica Van Parys, 2015. "Physician Practice Style and Patient Health Outcomes: The Case of Heart Attacks," NBER Working Papers 21218, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:21218
    Note: HC HE LS
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    File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w21218.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Amitabh Chandra & Douglas O. Staiger, 2007. "Productivity Spillovers in Health Care: Evidence from the Treatment of Heart Attacks," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 115, pages 103-140.
    2. Daniel P. Kessler & Mark McClellan, 1996. "Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine?," NBER Working Papers 5466, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Martin Gaynor & James B. Rebitzer & Lowell J. Taylor, 2004. "Physician Incentives in Health Maintenance Organizations," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 112(4), pages 915-931, August.
    4. Alan M. Garber & Jonathan Skinner, 2008. "Is American Health Care Uniquely Inefficient?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 22(4), pages 27-50, Fall.
    5. Amy Finkelstein & Matthew Gentzkow & Heidi Williams, 2016. "Sources of Geographic Variation in Health Care: Evidence From PatientMigration," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 131(4), pages 1681-1726.
    6. Daniel Kessler & Mark McClellan, 1996. "Do Doctors Practice Defensive Medicine?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 111(2), pages 353-390.
    7. David Cutler & Jonathan S. Skinner & Ariel Dora Stern & David Wennberg, 2019. "Physician Beliefs and Patient Preferences: A New Look at Regional Variation in Health Care Spending," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 11(1), pages 192-221, February.
    8. Janet Currie & W. Bentley MacLeod, 2008. "First Do No Harm? Tort Reform and Birth Outcomes," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 123(2), pages 795-830.
    9. Doyle Jr., Joseph J. & Ewer, Steven M. & Wagner, Todd H., 2010. "Returns to physician human capital: Evidence from patients randomized to physician teams," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 29(6), pages 866-882, December.
    10. Epstein, Andrew J. & Nicholson, Sean, 2009. "The formation and evolution of physician treatment styles: An application to cesarean sections," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(6), pages 1126-1140, December.
    11. Jonathan Gruber & Maria Owings, 1996. "Physician Financial Incentives and Cesarean Section Delivery," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 27(1), pages 99-123, Spring.
    12. Dranove David & Ramanarayanan Subramaniam & Sfekas Andrew, 2011. "Does the Market Punish Aggressive Experts? Evidence from Cesarean Sections," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 11(2), pages 1-33, January.
    13. Gruber, Jon & Kim, John & Mayzlin, Dina, 1999. "Physician fees and procedure intensity: the case of cesarean delivery," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(4), pages 473-490, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Rudy Douven & Minke Remmerswaal & Robin Zoutenbier, 2015. "Do Extrinsically Motivated Mental Health Care Providers Have Better Treatment Outcomes?," CPB Discussion Paper 319, CPB Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • I11 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health - - - Analysis of Health Care Markets

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