Do long waiting times worsen health outcomes of patients with cardiovascular diseases? A study using data from SHARE survey
Abstract: Long hospital waits are causing frustrations among patients and are a fiercely debated topic in many OECD countries. Peoples are worrying about that long waiting times might cause deterioration in patients’ health. This study investigates whether waiting times have any adverse impact on health in patients with cardiovascular diseases. Using a cross-national sample derived from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), we estimate the effects of waiting times on three different aspects of health outcomes: self-perceived physical and general health, self-perceived mental health and self-perceived life-expectancy. Our results show that, on one hand, waiting times for non-emergency consultation have generally no adverse im-pacts on patients’ self-perceived health and, on the other hand, waiting times for emergency consultation and excessive waiting time are associated with several types of deteriorations in self-perceived general health and mental health. Hence, health policy should be designed to reduce emergency waits and excessive waits. Additionally, given that hospital waiting list is an ineffective way to ration excessive healthcare demand and creates a deadweight loss to the society, further research on its replacements are therefore required.
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