Broadband Internet Access and Health Outcomes: Patient and Provider Responses in Medicare

45 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2024

See all articles by Jessica Van Parys

Jessica Van Parys

CUNY Hunter College

Zach Brown

University of Michigan

Date Written: August 2023

Abstract

High-speed internet has increased the amount of information available in health care markets. Online information may improve health outcomes if it reduces information frictions and helps patients choose higher quality providers or causes providers to improve quality. We examine how health outcomes for common procedures in Medicare changed after broadband internet rolled out across ZIP Codes from 1999 to 2008. Estimates imply that broadband expansion improved health outcomes by 5%. Broadband access primarily helped patients choose higher-quality providers; we also find some evidence that broadband improved provider quality. We use a structural model to decompose the improvements in patient outcomes over time. Counterfactual simulations imply that broadband roll-out was responsible for 16% of the improvement in outcomes by the end of the period.

Note:

Funding Information: This research was supported by the National Institute on Aging grant numbers P30AG012810 and T32-AG000186.

Conflict of Interests: We both have no declarations of interest.

Suggested Citation

Van Parys, Jessica and Brown, Zach, Broadband Internet Access and Health Outcomes: Patient and Provider Responses in Medicare (August 2023). NBER Working Paper No. w31579, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4546446

Jessica Van Parys (Contact Author)

CUNY Hunter College ( email )

Zach Brown

University of Michigan ( email )

611 Tappan Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1220
United States

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