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Doctors don't make better patients

Doctors — theoretically, the best-informed patients out there — don't receive significantly more high-value care than non-doctors, according to a new National Bureau of Economic Research paper.

Why it matters: Many policies are designed based on the idea that if people have more information, they'll be better health care consumers.

  • For example, this is the theory behind high-deductible insurance. One possible explanation for why it hasn't been very effective in improving patient health is because consumers aren't knowledgeable enough to steer themselves toward high-value care.

The bottom line: "These results provide a rough boundary on the extent to which additional information disclosure (beyond prevailing levels) can be expected to improve the delivery of health care in the U.S.," the authors write.

Go deeper: Higher deductibles aren't getting people to price shop