Unwarranted Variation in Health Care

For the last several decades, geographic differences in the type and amount of medical services US patients receive have come under increased scrutiny by physicians, policy makers, and those who pay for medical care. Variations that do not appear to correlate with differences in patient demographics, preferences, or disease burden are termed “unwarranted.” Contributors to the February issue grapple with the causes of unwarranted variations in health care and the effects they have on the cost and quality of care. The authors also strive to identify solutions—from more research into the effectiveness of drugs, devices, and diagnostic services to quality-based models for physician payment.

Volume 16, Number 2: 89-152 Full Issue PDF