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Measuring the Value of Cataract Surgery

Measuring the Value of Cataract Surgery

(p.411) 10 Measuring the Value of Cataract Surgery
Medical Care Output and Productivity
Irving ShapiroMatthew D. ShapiroDavid W. Wilcox
University of Chicago Press

Health expenditure on life-extending medical treatments can not only increase current-period utility, but have durable effects on utility. By making the number of periods of life endogenous, health expenditures can cause interesting, and even perverse, implications for cost-of-living measurement. This chapter argues that economic decision making by patients is important for understanding the demand for certain medical procedures by presenting a case study of cataract surgery. It first outlines developments in the techniques of cataract surgery since mid-century. It then discusses how these improvements in technique have reduced the degree of visual impairment of patients receiving cataract surgery, thereby dramatically increasing the rate of surgery. It also considers how the benefits of surgery should be valued across time given the changing visual function at time of surgery. Furthermore, it discusses the resource and monetary costs of cataract surgery and makes recommendations for measuring prices in the health care sector based on the findings about cataract surgery.

Keywords:   cataract surgery, health expenditures, prices, decision making, health care, medical treatments, monetary costs

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