Is Great Information Good Enough? Evidence from Physicians as Patients

49 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2019 Last revised: 22 Feb 2021

See all articles by Michael Frakes

Michael Frakes

Duke University School of Law

Jonathan Gruber

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics

Anupam Jena

Harvard University

Date Written: July 2019

Abstract

Stemming from the belief that the key barrier to achieving high-quality and low-cost health care is the deficiency of information and medical knowledge among patients, an enormous number of health policies are focused on patient education. In this paper, we attempt to place an upper bound on the improvements to health care quality that may emanate from such information campaigns. To do so, we compare the care received by a group of patients that should have the best possible information on health care service efficacy—i.e., physicians as patients—with a comparable group of non-physician patients, taking various steps to account for unobservable differences between the two groups. Our results suggest that physicians do only slightly better in adhering to both low- and high-value care guidelines than non-physicians – but not by much and not always.

Suggested Citation

Frakes, Michael and Gruber, Jonathan and Jena, Anupam, Is Great Information Good Enough? Evidence from Physicians as Patients (July 2019). NBER Working Paper No. w26038, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3416341

Michael Frakes (Contact Author)

Duke University School of Law ( email )

210 Science Drive
Box 90362
Durham, NC 27708
United States

Jonathan Gruber

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) - Department of Economics ( email )

50 Memorial Drive
E52-391
Cambridge, MA 02142
United States

Anupam Jena

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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