How Do Physicians Rate High-Tech Medicine?

Research on health economics and policy

From 1999 to 2001, Victor R. Fuchs, Ph.D., of the National Bureau of Economic Research and also of Stanford University, expanded his earlier research by focusing on the allocation of health care resources and the effect on health outcomes, with an emphasis on the over-65 population.

Key Findings

Fuchs collaborated with Harold C. Sox, Jr., M.D., of Dartmouth Medical School, to survey 225 internists around the country about the relative importance of recent medical innovations.

  • As published in Health Affairs, the five innovations ranked most important were:
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) scanning.
    • Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors.
    • Balloon angioplasty.
    • Statin drugs.
    • Mammography.

Fuchs also collaborated with Mark McClellan, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University and Jonathan Skinner, Ph.D., of Dartmouth University, on a study of the relationship between mortality and use of medical care among the elderly in 313 regions of the United States.

  • Researchers found utilization, especially of inpatient care, to be strongly associated with mortality and also found a positive relationship between mortality and cigarette sales, obesity, air pollution and the percentage of the population that is African American. The study is scheduled to appear as a book chapter.

Funding

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) supported this project through a grant of $89,999 to the National Bureau of Economic Research.