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Title: Statistical evaluation of quality in healthcare
Author: Berta, Paolo
ISNI:       0000 0004 7658 8701
Awarding Body: Brunel University London
Current Institution: Brunel University
Date of Award: 2018
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Governance of the healthcare systems is one of the most important challenges forWestern countries. Within this, an accurate assessment of the quality is key to policy makers and public managers, in order to guarantee equity, effectiveness and efficiency. In this thesis, we investigate aspects and methods related to healthcare evaluation by focussing on the healthcare system in Lombardy (Italy), where public and private providers compete with each other, patients are free to choose where to be hospitalized, and a pay-for-performance program was recently implemented. The general aim of this thesis is to highlight the role of statistics within a quality evaluation framework, in the form of advancing the statistical methods used to measure quality, of evaluating the effectiveness of implemented policies, and of testing the effect that mechanisms of competition and cooperation can have on the quality of a healthcare system. We firstly advance a new methodological approach for measuring hospital quality, providing a new tool for managers involved in performance evaluations. Multilevel models are typically used in healthcare, in order to account for the hierarchical structure of the data. These models however do not account for unobserved heterogeneity. We therefore propose an extension of the cluster-weighted models to the multilevel framework and focus in particular on the case of a binary dependent variable, which is common in healthcare. The resulting multilevel logistic cluster-weighted model is shown to perform well in a healthcare evaluation context. Secondly, we evaluate the effectiveness of a pay-for-performance program. Differently from the existent literature, in this thesis we evaluate this program on the basis of five health outcomes and across a wide range of medical conditions. Availability of data pre and post-policy in Lombardy allows us to use a difference-in-differences approach. The statistical model includes multiple dependent outcomes, that allow quantifying the joint effect of the program, and random effects, that account for the heterogeneity of the data at the ward and hospital level. The results show that the policy has overall a positive effect on the hospitals' performance. Thirdly, we study the effect of pro-competition reforms on the hospital quality. In Lombardy, competition between hospitals has been mostly driven by the adoption of a quasi-market system. Our results show that no association exists between hospital quality and competition. We speculate that this may be the result of asymmetric information, i.e. the lack of transparent information provided to citizens about the quality of hospitals. This is bound to reduce the impact of pro-competition reforms on quality and can in part explain the conflicting results found in the literature on this subject. Our results should motivate a public disclosure of quality evaluations. Regardless of the specifics of a system, hospitals are altruistic economic agents and they cooperate in order to improve their quality. In this work, we analyse the effect of cooperation on quality, taking the network of patients' transfers between hospitals as a proxy of their level of cooperation. Using the latest network models, we find that cooperation does lead to an increase in quality and should therefore be encouraged by policy makers.
Supervisor: Vinciotti, V. ; Moscone, F. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Multilevel models ; Cluster weighted models ; Cooperation in healthcare ; Quality in healthcare ; Policy evaluation in healthcare