Research in Progress Seminar (RIP)

Date: February 17, 2016  
Time: 4:00 - 5:00 pm  
Location: CHP/PCOR Conference Room
117 Encina Commons

Robert Kaplan
Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in Behavioral Sciences, Stanford

Title: Are the high costs of US medical technology justified by improved health outcomes?  


Using modeling methodologies, at least three groups have suggested that the high expense of US healthcare is justified by the systematic increase in US life expectancy over the last 60 years. Papers describing these models are frequently cited in both the academic literature and in policy briefs. In this analysis, assumptions underlying the three models are linked to recent systematic literature reviews. Using estimates based on recent RCTs, the models are reconstructed and subjected to sensitivity analysis. The results suggest that the benefits of high-technology interventions have been overestimated, while the effects of social and behavioral factors, including cigarette smoking cessation, may have been underestimated. The analysis is highly sensitive to assumptions about the percentage of variance in outcomes attributable to medical technology.