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Effectiveness of Population-Based Hypertension Screening: A Multidimensional Regression Discontinuity Design

Kämpfen, F.;, Gómez-Olivé, X.;, O’Donnell, O.; and Riumallo Herl, C.;

Health, Econometrics and Data Group (HEDG) Working Papers from HEDG, c/o Department of Economics, University of York

Abstract: By detecting asymptomatic risk factors, such as hypertension, population-based screening can prevent disease but also induce use of low-value healthcare by false positives. Using data on individuals aged 40+ in rural South Africa and a multidimensional regression discontinuity design, we estimate effects of clinical referral of those with measured blood pressure (BP) above diagnostic thresholds for hypertension. Referral increases hypertension treatment but has no effect on BP after four years, on average. However, for screens that are less likely to be false positives—based on time of day and air temperature at BP measurement—we estimate that referral reduces mean systolic BP by 5 mm Hg (3.6%) and raises the probability of achieving BP control by 22 percentage points (44%). These results demonstrate the potential for false positives to lower the average effect of screening.

Keywords: clinical referral; blood pressure; false positive; sub-saharan africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C21 I12 I18 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023-08
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