Final Wrap-up

This is my final blog post, and it’s time to wrap up my summer research experience.  Getting the bad news out of the way first, unfortunately my own, short project did not yield any conclusive results.  Whether a physician was employed did not seem to have a significant effect on the physician’s assessment of healthcare quality.  There were a variety of reasons for this result.  I was limited to public use data, and was not able to control for possible intangible differences between hospitals.  In addition, the Community Tracking Study has physicians estimate their ability to provide high quality care and does not empirically measure quality.  There is a good chance that the actual quality of care a physician provides might significantly differ from a physician’s own opinion of their care quality.

[Read more…]

Being exclusive (and inclusive) with regressions

When I finish up my research this summer, I will have produced two papers.    One of those is already finished; I spent a good deal of time compiling a comprehensive literature review on the integration between physicians and hospitals in the healthcare industry.  The second part of this research experience is ongoing.

[Read more…]

Regression Analysis

Steven Levitt, one of the most famous economists alive and author of Freakonomics, once said, “Regression analysis is more art than science.”  After creating my own complicated regressions for the first time, I am starting to agree with him!

[Read more…]

Physician-Hospital Integration and Healthcare Quality

In my research project I have decided to look at physician-hospital integration’s effect on the quality of care provided.  When physicians and hospitals work together it can greatly affect patients.  If physicians and hospitals are not competing but instead acting as one organization, the decrease in healthcare market competition means that organizations can increase prices without fear of another organization charging less.  Not all effects of the integration are negative, however.  If hospitals and physicians are working together, they can more easily purchase expensive technologies that improve patient care.  For example, physicians in solo practice can’t afford to have digital medical records, but large, integrated organizations can easily purchase and implement this expensive technology to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare.  I wanted to find out how integrated organizations affect patients, so I decided that the greatest affect a physician-hospital relation could have on patients is in terms of healthcare quality.

[Read more…]

“Re”-search

There is a lot more that goes into social science research than just sticking data in a program and writing a few paragraphs about what pops out.  Before commencing with data collection, researchers have to perform a thorough review on previous literature to make sure that their study strikes the balance between being grounded in prior empirical studies and being an original contribution.  Much of my time researching so far has been reviewing previous literature.  It is not called “re”-search for no reason; I frequently find myself rereading studies, and it seems that after each few steps forward I have to take a step back and reconsider what I had read previously.  Economics literature is not easy reading, and it needs to be considered carefully because the smallest details often turn out to be the most important.

[Read more…]