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12:30 - 13:45 29 May 2013

Diagnosis and Unnecessary Procedure Use: Evidence from C-Section


IFS Conference Room | Institute for Fiscal Studies (link Map)
7 Ridgmount Street | London | WC1E 7AE | United Kingdom

Open to: Academic | Student
Ticketing: Open

Speaker information

Janet Currie, Princeton University

This paper provides a model of diagnostic skill as an element of provider quality that is separate from a doctor's skill in performing procedures. Unlike higher surgical skill, which leads to higher use of surgical procedures across the board, better diagnostic skill results in fewer procedures for the low risk, but more procedures for the high risk. That is, better diagnostic skill improves the matching between patients and procedures leading to better health outcomes. Taking the model to data on C-sections, the most common surgical procedure performed in the U.S., we show that improving diagnostic skills from the 25th to the 75th percentile of the observed distribution would reduce C-section rates by 11.7% among the low risk, and increase them by 4.6% among the high risk. Since there are many more low risk than high risk women, improving diagnosis would reduce overall C-section rates.


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