RESEARCH TO POLICY: HEALTHCARE
Study: More expensive emergency care does yield better results
Unique research method reveals significant return on additional health care spending.
“We do find that if you go from a low-spending hospital to a high-spending hospital, you get significantly lower mortality rates.”
Because Americans spend more per capita on health care than residents of any country, debate has rumbled on for years about whether all that investment yields sufficient results. Now a newly published study with a distinctive design, led by an MIT health care scholar, shows that increased spending on emergency care does, in fact, produce better outcomes for patients.
“If the question is, ‘Do high-spending hospitals get better outcomes for emergency care?’ — we think that they do,” says MIT economist Joseph Doyle. “We do find that if you go from a low-spending hospital to a high-spending hospital, you get significantly lower mortality rates.”
Analyzing patients covered by Medicare, the study finds that increasing emergency-care spending by one standard deviation about the mean generates roughly a 10 percent (and 4 percentage point) reduction in mortality.