Is low-priced primary care bad for quality? Evidence from Australian general practice

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Applied Economics, 2018, 50 (5), pp. 475 - 491
Issue Date:
2018-01-26
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. We examine whether patients’ perceptions of general practitioner (GP) care varies by the price paid for consultations. Australian consumer survey data from 2275 individuals were used to analyse the relationship between price and patient experience of GP care. Using both standard models for count data and a latent class model that distinguishes between patients with high- and low-quality experiences, we find no evidence that lower prices have a negative impact on patients’ perceptions of GP quality. Nevertheless, some patient characteristics such as age, gender and health status play a significant role in quality-of-care perceptions. The results show that Australian patients have not had to compromise GP quality, as expressed in terms of patient experience, when seeking low-priced care. This supports the view that there are sufficient checks and balances on the GP sector in Australia to ensure positive patient experiences even for low-cost GP consultations.
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