Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Private Health Care Is Higher Quality?

From a regular visit to a blog, I find this rather technical article:

Money for Nothing: The Dire Straits of Medical Practice in Delhi, India

A World Bank-commissioned study, it finds three things:

"First, what doctors do is less than what they know they should do - doctors operate well inside their knowledge frontier. Second, competence and effort are complementary so that doctors who know more also do more. Third, the gap between what they do and what they know responds to incentives: Doctors in the fee-for-service private sector are closer in practice to their knowledge frontier than those in the fixed-salary public sector."

The introduction succintly puts it this way: "Households in poor areas are better off visiting less-qualified private practitioners than more-qualified poor doctors." The chart "Figure 2 Knowledge and Practice: What They Know... And What They Do" on page 34 is a graphic representation of this finding.

Although this may not be true in the Philippine setting, the proposal set forth in the discussion may be applicable:

"Making public doctors in such areas more responsive to patient needs may be possible through compensation schemes other than fixed salaries..."

The bulk of the paper seems to have been written by economists, and admittedly I cannot even comprehend all those equations. But it is a quite interesting read, for our technocrats to understand the cost impact of their policies.

Title taken from original blog citing the study; I added the question mark.

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