Ruhr Economic Papers

Ruhr Economic Papers #632

The Impact of Technology Diffusion in Health Care Markets – Evidence from Heart Attack Treatment

by Corinna Hentschker and Ansgar Wübker

RUB, RWI, 08/2016, 30 S./p., 8 Euro, ISBN 978-3-86788-734-2 DOI: 10.4419/86788734



Medical technological progress has been shown to be the main driver of health care costs. A key policy question is whether new treatment options are worth the additional costs. In this paper we assess the causal effect of percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA), a major new heart attack treatment, on mortality. We use a full sample of administrative hospital data from Germany for the years 2005 to 2007. To account for non-random treatment assignment of PTCA, instrumental variable approaches are implemented that aim to randomize patients to different likelihoods of getting PTCA independent of heart attack severity. Instruments include differential distances to PTCA hospitals and regional PTCA rates. Our results suggest a 4.5 percentage point mortality reduction for patients who have access to this new treatment compared to patients receiving only conservative treatment. We relate mortality reduction to the additional costs for this treatment and conclude that this new treatment option is cost-effective in lowering mortality for AMI patients at reasonable cost-effectiveness thresholds.

JEL-Classification: I11, I12, I18

Keywords: Acute myocardial infarction; instrumental variables; mortality