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Surgical Volumes and Operating Room Efficiency in Stanford University and Tokyo University Hospitals

Working Papers

Published By

Shorenstein APARC, page(s): 22

January, 1996

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One of the most persistent and important questions in international comparisons of health systems pertains to the wide divergence in costs between countries. Japan has significantly lower per capita health care costs than does the United States, despite having a fee-for-service reimbursement system and universal coverage, and aggressively purchasing and utilizing equipment-embodied medical technologies. 1 One important factor in the increase in American health care costs over time has been the substitution of surgical intervention for medical treatment. 2 This leads us to consider differential rates of surgery as a potential explanation for divergent cost performances. Indeed, although Japan has one-half the inpatient admission rate of the United States, it has only one-quarter the surgery rate per capita

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