The Economics of Oral Health and Health Care
28 Pages Posted: 28 May 2015
Date Written: May 20, 2015
This paper describes the principles of economics and their application to oral health and health care. After illustrating the economic determinants of oral health, the demand for oral health care is discussed with particular reference to asymmetric information between patient and provider. The reasons for the market failure in (oral) health care and its implications for efficiency and equity are explained. Moreover, it is described how economic evaluation can be used to maximize oral health gains in scenarios of scarce resources. The behavioural aspects of patients' demand for and dental professionals' provision of oral health services are discussed. Finally, methods for an optimized planning of the dental workforce are discussed.
Keywords: Oral health production, scarce resources, asymmetric information, opportunity cost, equity, efficiency, economic evaluation, QATY, ICER, willingness-to-pay, provider payment, supplier-induced demand, dental insurance coverage, dental workforce
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