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Broadband Internet Access and Health Outcomes: Patient and Provider Responses in Medicare

Jessica Van Parys and Zach Y. Brown

No 31579, NBER Working Papers from National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc

Abstract: High-speed internet has increased the amount of information available in health care markets. Online information may improve health outcomes if it reduces information frictions and helps patients choose higher quality providers or causes providers to improve quality. We examine how health outcomes for common procedures in Medicare changed after broadband internet rolled out across ZIP Codes from 1999 to 2008. Estimates imply that broadband expansion improved health outcomes by 5%. Broadband access primarily helped patients choose higher-quality providers; we also find some evidence that broadband improved provider quality. We use a structural model to decompose the improvements in patient outcomes over time. Counterfactual simulations imply that broadband roll-out was responsible for about 16% of the improvement in outcomes by the end of the period.

JEL-codes: I10 L15 L86 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023-08
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-ict
Note: AG EH
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