Is Great Information Good Enough? Evidence from Physicians as Patients
49 Pages Posted: 9 Jul 2019 Last revised: 22 Feb 2021
Date Written: July 2019
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.
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