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Medical Care Output and Productivity

With the United States and other developed nations spending as much as 14 percent of their GDP on medical care, economists and policy analysts are asking what these countries are getting in return. Yet it remains frustrating and difficult to measure the productivity of the medical care service industries.

This volume takes aim at that problem, while taking stock of where we are in our attempts to solve it. Much of this analysis focuses on the capacity to measure the value of technological change and other health care innovations. A key finding suggests that growth in health care spending has coincided with an increase in products and services that together reduce mortality rates and promote additional health gains. Concerns over the apparent increase in unit prices of medical care may thus understate positive impacts on consumer welfare. When appropriately adjusted for such quality improvements, health care prices may actually have fallen. Provocative and compelling, this volume not only clarifies one of the more nebulous issues in health care analysis, but in so doing addresses an area of pressing public policy concern.

544 pages | 26 line drawings, 118 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2001

National Bureau of Economic Research Studies in Income and Wealth

Economics and Business: Health Economics

Table of Contents

Prefatory Note
I. Conceptual Issues in Medical Care Prices and Productivity
1. What’s Different about Health? Human Repair and Car Repair in National Accounts and in National Health Accounts
2. Theoretical Foundations of Medical Cost-Effectiveness Analysis: Implications for the Measurement of Benefits and Costs of Medical Interventions
3. Medical Care Output and Productivity in the Nonprofit Sector
4. Price Indexes for Medical Care Goods and Services: An Overview of Measurement Issues
II. Current State of Measurement
5. Medical Care in the Consumer Price Index
6. Health Care Output and Prices in the Producer Price Index
7. National Health Accounts/National Income and Product Accounts Reconciliation: Hospital Care and Physician Services
III. Recent Developments
8. Pricing Heart Attack Treatments
9. Trends in Heart Attack Treatment and Outcomes, 1975–1995: Literature Review and Synthesis
10. Measuring the Value of Cataract Surgery
11. Hedonic Analysis of Arthritis Drugs
12. Treatment Price Indexes for Acute Phase Major Depression
IV. Extensions of the Frontier
13. The Value of Reductions in Child Injury Mortality in the United States
14. Patient Welfare and Patient Compliance: An Empirical Framework for Measuring the Benefits from Pharmaceutical Innovation
15. The Allocation of Publicly Funded Biomedical Research
Author Index
Subject Index

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