A big, important step in (public) health (economics)

The NY Times reports that four large health insurers have agreed to release claims data to academics on a regular basis. Claims data will allow us (researchers) to look in much greater detail at what is driving excess costs but much more importantly, to find out how quickly physicians are taking up new (and hopefully better) practices, and perhaps even pinpointing where/when/why sub-optimal practices are occurring and take steps to mitigate.

We have been playing with claims data in some recent (Australian-based) work as well as during the Heritage Prize – it’s typically messy but not impossible to work with. Let’s also hope the definition of “academic” does not equate to “US-based academics”.

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