NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

David C. Chan, Jr

Center for Health Policy and
Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research
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Stanford, CA 94305
Tel: 650/725-9582
Fax: 650/723-1919

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NBER Program Affiliations: HC
NBER Affiliation: Faculty Research Fellow

NBER Working Papers and Publications

September 2016A Doctor Will See You Now: Physician-Patient Relationships and Clinical Decisions
with Erin Johnson, M. Marit Rehavi, Daniela Carusi: w22666
We estimate the effect of physician-patient relationships on clinical decisions in a setting where the treating physician is as good as randomly assigned. OBs are 25% (4 percentage points) more likely to perform a C-section when delivering patients with whom they have a pre-existing clinical relationship (their “own patients”) than when delivering patients with whom they had no prior relationship. OBs’ decisions are consistent with receiving greater disutility from their own patients’ difficult labors. After a string of difficult labors, OBs are more likely to perform C-sections on their own patients, and this can explain the entire own patient effect.
January 2016Informational Frictions and Practice Variation: Evidence from Physicians in Training
w21855
Substantial practice variation across physicians for seemingly similar patients remains an unresolved puzzle. This paper studies physicians in training to explore the behavioral foundations of practice variation. A discontinuity in the formation of teams reveals a large contribution of relative experience in the size of practice variation. Among the same physician trainees, convergence towards a common practice differs by practice environment, with more convergence in specialist-driven services. Rich trainee characteristics and training histories, including the practice styles of prior supervising physicians, explain little if any variation. These findings suggest a major role for informational frictions in the origins of practice variation.
March 2015The Efficiency of Slacking Off: Evidence from the Emergency Department
w21002
Work schedules play an important role in utilizing labor in organizations. In this study of emergency department physicians in shift work, schedules induce two distortions: First, physicians "slack off" by accepting fewer patients near end of shift (EOS). Second, physicians distort patient care, incurring higher costs as they spend less time on patients accepted near EOS. Examining how these effects change with shift overlap reveals a tradeoff between the two. Within an hour after the normal time of work completion, physicians are willing to spend hospital resources eight times more than their market wage to preserve their leisure. Accounting for overall costs, I find that physicians slack off at approximately second-best optimal levels.
 
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