Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research - Research Publications

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    Editors' introduction
    Jones, AM ; Norton, EC ; O'Donnell, O ; Scott, A (WILEY, 2017-09-01)
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    European and Australasian Econometrics and Health Economics Workshop papers Introduction
    Jones, A ; O'Donnell, O ; Scott, A ; Shields, M (WILEY-BLACKWELL, 2016-09-01)
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    Hours worked by general practitioners and waiting times for primary care
    Swami, M ; Gravelle, H ; Scott, A ; Williams, J (WILEY, 2018-10-01)
    The decline in the working hours of general practitioners (GPs) is a key factor influencing access to health care in many countries. We investigate the effect of changes in hours worked by GPs on waiting times in primary care using the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life longitudinal survey of Australian doctors. We estimate GP fixed effects models for waiting time and use family circumstances to instrument for GP's hours worked. We find that a 10% reduction in hours worked increases average patient waiting time by 12%. Our findings highlight the importance of GPs' labor supply at the intensive margin in determining the length of time patients must wait to see their doctor.
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    Accuracy of patient recall for self-reported doctor visits: Is shorter recall better?
    Dalziel, K ; Li, J ; Scott, A ; Clarke, P (WILEY, 2018-11-01)
    In health economics, the use of patient recall of health care utilisation information is common, including in national health surveys. However, the types and magnitude of measurement error that relate to different recall periods are not well understood. This study assessed the accuracy of recalled doctor visits over 2-week, 3-month, and 12-month periods by comparing self-report with routine administrative Australian Medicare data. Approximately 5,000 patients enrolled in an Australian study were pseudo-randomised using birth dates to report visits to a doctor over three separate recall periods. When comparing patient recall with visits recorded in administrative information from Medicare Australia, both bias and variance were minimised for the 12-month recall period. This may reflect telescoping that occurs with shorter recall periods (participants pulling in important events that fall outside the period). Using shorter recall periods scaled to represent longer periods is likely to bias results. There were associations between recall error and patient characteristics. The impact of recall error is demonstrated with a cost-effectiveness analysis using costs of doctor visits and a regression example predicting number of doctor visits. The findings have important implications for surveying health service utilisation for use in economic evaluation, econometric analyses, and routine national health surveys.
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    Valuing Benefits to Inform a Clinical Trial in Pharmacy Do Differences in Utility Measures at Baseline Affect the Effectiveness of the Intervention?
    Tinelli, M ; Ryan, M ; Bond, C ; Scott, A (ADIS INT LTD, 2013-01-01)
    BACKGROUND: The generic health-related quality-of-life (HR-QOL) utility measures the EQ-5D and SF-6D are both commonly used to inform healthcare policy developments. However, their application to pharmacy practice is limited and the optimal method to inform policy developments is unknown. OBJECTIVES: Our objective was to test the sensitivity of the EQ-5D and SF-6D within pharmacy when measuring whether changes in health status or other co-variates at baseline affect the effectiveness of the intervention at follow-up. A further objective was to consider the implications of the findings for pharmacy research and policy. METHODS: The EQ-5D and SF-6D utility measures were employed within a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of community pharmacy-led medicines management for patients with coronary heart disease. The intervention covered a baseline visit with the potential for follow-up. Simultaneous quantile regression assessed the impact of the intervention on both EQ-5D and SF-6D measures at follow-up, controlling for baseline health, appropriateness of treatment, personal characteristics and self-reported satisfaction. RESULTS: No statistically significant difference in HR-QOL across the intervention and control groups at follow-up was reported for either measure. Increased health gain was however associated with the baseline utility score (with the EQ-5D more sensitive for those in worse health) and the appropriateness of treatment, but not patient characteristics or self-reported satisfaction. CONCLUSION: Neither generic measure detected a gain in HR-QOL as a result of the introduction of an innovative pharmacy-based service. This finding supports other work in the area of pharmacy, where health gains have not changed following interventions. Disease-specific utility measures should be investigated as an alternative to generic approaches such as the EQ-5D and SF-6D. Given that the RCT found an increase in self-reported satisfaction, broader measures of benefit that value patient experiences, such as contingent valuation and discrete-choice experiments, should also be considered in pharmacy.
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    An RCT protocol of varying financial incentive amounts for smoking cessation among pregnant women
    Lynagh, M ; Bonevski, B ; Sanson-Fisher, R ; Symonds, I ; Scott, A ; Hall, A ; Oldmeadow, C (BMC, 2012-11-27)
    BACKGROUND: Smoking during pregnancy is harmful to the unborn child. Few smoking cessation interventions have been successfully incorporated into standard antenatal care. The main aim of this study is to determine the feasibility of a personal financial incentive scheme for encouraging smoking cessation among pregnant women. DESIGN: A pilot randomised control trial will be conducted to assess the feasibility and potential effectiveness of two varying financial incentives that increase incrementally in magnitude ($20 vs. $40AUD), compared to no incentive in reducing smoking in pregnant women attending an Australian public hospital antenatal clinic. METHOD: Ninety (90) pregnant women who self-report smoking in the last 7 days and whose smoking status is biochemically verified, will be block randomised into one of three groups: a. No incentive control group (n=30), b. $20 incremental incentive group (n=30), and c. $40 incremental incentive group (n=30). Smoking status will be assessed via a self-report computer based survey in nine study sessions with saliva cotinine analysis used as biochemical validation. Women in the two incentive groups will be eligible to receive a cash reward at each of eight measurement points during pregnancy if 7-day smoking cessation is achieved. Cash rewards will increase incrementally for each period of smoking abstinence. DISCUSSION: Identifying strategies that are effective in reducing the number of women smoking during pregnancy and are easily adopted into standard antenatal practice is of utmost importance. A personal financial incentive scheme is a potential antenatal smoking cessation strategy that warrants further investigation. TRIAL REGISTRATION: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ANZCTR) number: ACTRN12612000399897.
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    Splash!: a prospective birth cohort study of the impact of environmental, social and family-level influences on child oral health and obesity related risk factors and outcomes
    de Silva-Sanigorski, AM ; Waters, E ; Calache, H ; Smith, M ; Gold, L ; Gussy, M ; Scott, A ; Lacy, K ; Virgo-Milton, M (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2011-06-27)
    BACKGROUND: Dental caries (decay) is the most prevalent disease of childhood. It is often left untreated and can impact negatively on general health, and physical, developmental, social and learning outcomes. Similar to other health issues, the greatest burden of dental caries is seen in those of low socio-economic position. In addition, a number of diet-related risk factors for dental caries are shared risk factors for the development of childhood obesity. These include high and frequent consumption of refined carbohydrates (predominately sugars), and soft drinks and other sweetened beverages, and low intake of (fluoridated) water. The prevalence of childhood obesity is also at a concerning level in most countries and there is an opportunity to determine interventions for addressing both of these largely preventable conditions through sustainable and equitable solutions. This study aims to prospectively examine the impact of drink choices on child obesity risk and oral health status. METHODS/DESIGN: This is a two-stage study using a mixed methods research approach. The first stage involves qualitative interviews of a sub-sample of recruited parents to develop an understanding of the processes involved in drink choice, and inform the development of the Discrete Choice Experiment analysis and the measurement instruments to be used in the second stage. The second stage involves the establishment of a prospective birth cohort of 500 children from disadvantaged communities in rural and regional Victoria, Australia (with and without water fluoridation). This longitudinal design allows measurement of changes in the child's diet over time, exposure to fluoride sources including water, dental caries progression, and the risk of childhood obesity. DISCUSSION: This research will provide a unique contribution to integrated health, education and social policy and program directions, by providing clearer policy relevant evidence on strategies to counter social and environmental factors which predispose infants and children to poor health, wellbeing and social outcomes; and evidence-based strategies to promote health and prevent disease through the adoption of healthier lifestyles and diet. Further, given the absence of evidence on the processes and effectiveness of contemporary policy implementation, such as community water fluoridation in rural and regional communities it's approach and findings will be extremely informative.
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    Determinants of successful clinical networks: the conceptual framework and study protocol
    Haines, M ; Brown, B ; Craig, J ; D'Este, C ; Elliott, E ; Klineberg, E ; McInnes, E ; Middleton, S ; Paul, C ; Redman, S ; Yano, EM (BIOMED CENTRAL LTD, 2012-03-13)
    BACKGROUND: Clinical networks are increasingly being viewed as an important strategy for increasing evidence-based practice and improving models of care, but success is variable and characteristics of networks with high impact are uncertain. This study takes advantage of the variability in the functioning and outcomes of networks supported by the Australian New South Wales (NSW) Agency for Clinical Innovation's non-mandatory model of clinical networks to investigate the factors that contribute to the success of clinical networks. METHODS/DESIGN: The objective of this retrospective study is to examine the association between external support, organisational and program factors, and indicators of success among 19 clinical networks over a three-year period (2006-2008). The outcomes (health impact, system impact, programs implemented, engagement, user perception, and financial leverage) and explanatory factors will be collected using a web-based survey, interviews, and record review. An independent expert panel will provide judgements about the impact or extent of each network's initiatives on health and system impacts. The ratings of the expert panel will be the outcome used in multivariable analyses. Following the rating of network success, a qualitative study will be conducted to provide a more in-depth examination of the most successful networks. DISCUSSION: This is the first study to combine quantitative and qualitative methods to examine the factors that contribute to the success of clinical networks and, more generally, is the largest study of clinical networks undertaken. The adaptation of expert panel methods to rate the impacts of networks is the methodological innovation of this study. The proposed project will identify the conditions that should be established or encouraged by agencies developing clinical networks and will be of immediate use in forming strategies and programs to maximise the effectiveness of such networks.
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    Factors affecting general practitioners' decisions to adopt new prescription drugs - Cohort analyses using Australian longitudinal physician survey data
    Zhang, Y ; Méndez, SJ ; Scott, A (BioMed Central, 2019-02-07)
    Background: We investigate factors affecting Australian general practitioners' decisions to adopt novel oral anticoagulants (NOACs) for the prevention of stroke/systemic embolism among patients with atrial fibrillation. Australia has a national homogeneous review and coverage system, which enables us to distinguish physician level factors while maintaining system level factors and patient coverage information constant. Methods: We conduct a cohort analyses by using longitudinal physician survey data from the Medicine in Australia: Balancing Employment and Life panel survey of Australian physicians (MABEL). MABEL data contain rich physician-level information such as age, gender, education, risk preferences, personality, physicians' communications with other medical professionals, and other practice characteristics. Importantly, the survey data were linked, with physician's consent, to actual utilization data from the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the Medicare Benefits Schedule between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2015. We measure speed (days until first time prescribing) of adopting NOACs. We estimate a Cox proportional hazard model to estimate factors affecting the adoption speed. Results: Several factors predict earlier adoption of NOACs: being male, more likely to take clinical risk, higher prescribing volume, being a principal or partner in the practice instead of an employee, spending less time in a typical consultation, and practicing in more affluent areas or areas with a higher proportion of older patients. GPs in Queensland are more likely to adopt NOACs and more likely to be extensive early adopters compared to other GPs. Other characteristics including physician personality, family circumstances, their involvement with public hospitals and teaching activities, and the distance between physician practice location to other clinics in the area are not statistically associated with earlier adoption. Conclusions: Our paper is one of the first to study the relationship between GPs' risk preferences, personality and their decisions to adopt new prescription drugs. Because NOACs are commonly prescribed and considered more cost-effective than their older counterpart, understanding factors affecting physicians' decisions to adopt NOACs has direct policy implications. Our results also highlight that even with universal coverage for prescription drugs, access to new drugs is different among patients, partially because who their doctors are and where they practice.
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    The role of financial factors in the mobility and location choices of General Practitioners in Australia
    McIsaac, M ; Scott, A ; Kalb, G (BioMed Central, 2019-05-24)
    Background The geographic distribution of health workers is a pervasive policy concern. Many governments are responding by introducing financial incentives to attract health care workers to locate in areas that are underserved. However, clear evidence of the effectiveness of such financial incentives is lacking. Methods This paper examines General Practitioners’ (GPs) relocation choices in Australia and proposes a dynamic location choice model accounting for both source and destination factors associated with a choice to relocate, thereby accounting for push and pull factors associated with job separation. The model is used to simulate financial incentive policies and assess potential for such policies to redistribute GPs. This paper examines the role of financial factors in relocating established GPs into neighbourhoods with relatively low socioeconomic status. The paper uses a discrete choice model and panel data on GPs’ actual changes in location from one year to the next. Results This paper finds that established GPs are not very mobile, even when a financial incentive is offered. Policy simulation predicts that 93.2% of GPs would remain at their current practice and that an additional 0.8% would be retained or would relocate in a low-socioeconomic status (SES) neighbourhood in response to a hypothetical financial incentive of a 10% increase in the earnings of all metropolitan GPs practising in low-SES neighbourhoods. Conclusion With current evidence on the effectiveness of redistribution programmes limited to newly entering GPs, the policy simulations in this paper provide an insight into the potential effectiveness of financial incentives as a redistribution policy targeting the entire GP population. Overall, the results suggest that financial considerations are part of many factors influencing the location choice of GPs. For instance, GP practice ownership played almost as important a role in mobility as earnings.