This project considers whether access to broadband high-speed internet has changed the way that Medicare beneficiaries select providers, or the way that providers treat Medicare patients. It uses data from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on the number of broadband providers per Zip Code Tabulation Area (ZCTA) from 1999-2016, matched to Medicare inpatient, outpatient, and carrier claims over the same time period.
Aim #1 is to analyze whether broadband access reduces the probability that patients receive “low-value care,'' using definitions from Schwartz et al. (2014).
Aim #2 is to analyze whether broadband access reduces the probability that patients experience complications resulting from one of four scheduled medical procedures: PCI, hip replacement, knee replacement, and colonoscopy.
Aim #3 is to explore the mechanisms underlying the results from Aims #1 and #2. I will determine whether broadband internet access prompted Medicare patients to choose different providers, or prompted providers to adopt different approaches to treating patients (e.g., surgical approaches, post-op care, candidacy criterion).