Do information differences across US physicians contribute to treatment disparities? This paper uses a unique new dataset to evaluate how changes in physician access to a decision-relevant drug database affect prescribing decisions. Our results indicate doctors using the reference have a significantly greater propensity to prescribe generic drugs, are faster to begin prescribing new generics, and prescribe a more diverse set of products. These results are consistent with database users responding primarily to the increased accessibility of non-clinical information such as pricing and insurance formulary data, and suggest improvements to physician information access have important implications for aggregate healthcare costs.
Kenneth J. Arrow, L. Kamran Bilir, and Alan Sorensen
American Economic Journal: Applied Economics