Health System Productivity

Jack E. Triplett

in The Oxford Handbook of Health Economics

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199238828
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Economics

Health System Productivity

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  • Economics
  • Health, Education, and Welfare
  • Public Economics



This article considers approaches to tracking changes in the productivity of a health care system over time. Economists generally believe that measured productivity growth in the sector is biased downward because of difficulties in measuring medical care output accurately and also that measurement errors are pervasive in some of the inputs. This article discusses the most essential tasks of getting the data right in all productivity measurement. It also discusses some of the economic implications of the fact that medical care, though it is demanded to improve health, does not, by itself, produce health. It considers an alternative concept for medical care output and necessity to separate trends in medical care expenditures into trends in quantities of treatments and prices or costs of treatments. Improving the database for the analysis of medical care productivity deserves high priority because vital questions of health care policy demand exactly the same data.

Keywords: productivity; health care system; medical care; treatments; expenditures

Article.  12455 words. 

Subjects: Economics ; Health, Education, and Welfare ; Public Economics

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