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An App Call a Day Keeps the Patient Away? Substitution of Online and In-Person Doctor Consultations Among Young Adults

Lina Maria Ellegård (), Gustav Kjellsson and Linn Mattisson ()
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Linn Mattisson: Dept of Economics, Lund University, Sweden

No 808, Working Papers in Economics from University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics

Abstract: The emergence of markets for on-demand online physician consultations –direct-to-consumer telemedicine (DCT) – is currently transforming many healthcare settings. DCT may be a cost-effective substitute for ordinary consultations, but the convenience of seeking DCT may increase demand and costs for health insurers. To causally assess to which degree DCT consultations substitute for in-person consultations, we exploit exogenous changes in patient fees in a fuzzy difference-in-discontinuities analysis of young adults in Sweden. We estimate a degree of substitution of 45%, implying an increase in the consultation volume. Characteristics of the additional demand raise concerns related to healthcare equity, efficiency and costs.

Keywords: telemedicine; primary health care; co-payments; regression discontinuity design (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: I11 I12 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 97 pages
Date: 2021-06, Revised 2022-05
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-eur, nep-hea and nep-pay
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