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Altering Wait Time Information to Reduce A&E Overcrowding

Surajeet Chakravarty, Todd Kaplan () and Navonil Mustafee
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Surajeet Chakravarty: University of Exeter
Navonil Mustafee: University of Exeter

No 2003, Discussion Papers from University of Exeter, Department of Economics

Abstract: A&E overcrowding is an important problem since many are not seen in a sufficiently quick time. There is evidence that the situation can be improved without adding additional resources by diverting would-be A&E patients to alternative centres of urgent care, for example, Minor Injury Units (MIUs). The aim of this paper is to investigate how access to information on waiting times may influence decision making. We collect laboratory data where subjects are offered a choice between receiving treatment at A&E and MIU. The subjects face a random delay at the A&E but a known wait at the MIU. We manipulate the information that the subjects receive from the probabilities (risk) of the different waiting times at the A&E from known probabilities to merely a vague indication of the waiting time (ambiguity). We find that subjects demonstrate a strong preference for the A&E. Subjects display risk neutrality for the A&E waiting time but are ambiguity averse when waiting times are relatively short and ambiguity-seeking when waiting times are relatively long. This indicates that perhaps partial revelation of waiting times may be optimal. Our research will inform stakeholder decision-making at the operational level (such as individual UK National Health Service (NHS) Trusts) about strategy regarding the release of timing information.

Keywords: Health decisions; waiting times; ambiguity aversion. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp and nep-upt
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