The Role of Primary-Care Physicians in Health and Well-Being
The rise in health-care spending has initiated a large literature on the features and origins of health-care spending. This literature – in particular research produced as part of the Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care project – has recognized substantial geographic variation in spending, both within and across countries, and found little evidence that higher spending is associated with better health outcomes (e.g., Fisher et al. 2003a,b). A main problem in studying interrelations between health-care providers and patients is data limitations. This have led researchers to focus on more aggregate levels of care than family doctors, such as hospitals in which individuals are treated, since patient-doctor information is rarely available. Using detailed administrative health and income registers, that link patients and physicians, our approach will apply state-of-the-art estimation methods of “value-added” models to construct measures for physicians’ impact on patients’ medical-care utilization. The purpose of this project is to document the discrepancies across physicians in health-care spending as well as in other behaviors, above and beyond differences that are attributable to the observed characteristics of their patients.