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Information Technology, Improved Access, and Use of Prescription Drugs

Petri Petri Bockerman, Mika Kortelainen, Liisa Laine, Mikko Nurminen and Tanja Saxell
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Petri Petri Bockerman: University of Jyvaskyla, Labour Institute for Economic Research LABORE and IZA Institute of Labor Economics
Tanja Saxell: VATT Institute for Economic Research and Helsinki GSE

No 2301, Working Papers from Department of Economics, University of Missouri

Abstract: We estimate the effects of information technology designed to improve access to medication while limiting overuse. We focus on benzodiazepines, commonly prescribed and effective but addictive medications. We study the staggered rollout of a nationwide electronic prescribing system over four years in Finland and use population-wide, individual-level administrative data sets. We find an increase in benzodiazepine use on average due to increased prescription renewals. The effect is most pronounced among younger patients. We find little evidence of improvement in their general health outcomes but observe substantial increases in diagnoses of prescription drug abuse disorders and poisonings. Our results show robust evidence that easier access may lead to medication overuse.

Keywords: Information technology; electronic prescribing; medication access; overuse; repeat prescribing (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: H51 H75 I12 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 51 pages
Date: 2023-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea and nep-ict
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