Send to

Choose Destination
Med Care. 2001 Aug;39(8):836-47.

Does providing consumer health information affect self-reported medical utilization? Evidence from the Healthwise Communities Project.

Author information

VA HSR&D Health Economics Resource Center, Center for Primary Care and Outcomes Research, and Center for Health Policy, Stanford University, CA, USA.



To determine whether providing health information to residents of Boise ID had an effect on their self-reported medical utilization.


The Healthwise Communities Project (HCP) evaluation followed a quasi-experimental design.


Random households in metropolitan zip codes were mailed questionnaires before and after the HCP. A total of 5,909 surveys were returned.


The dependent variable was self-reported number of visits to the doctor in the past year. A difference-in-differences estimator was used to assess the intervention's community-level effect. We also assessed the intervention's effect on the variance of self-report utilization.


Boise residents had a higher adjusted odds of entering care (OR = 1.27, 95% CI 0.88, 1.85) and 0.1 more doctor visits compared with residents in the control cities; however, for both outcomes, the effects were small and not significant. Although the means changed little, the data suggest that the variance of utilization in Boise decreased.


The HCP had a small effect on overall self-reported utilization. Although the findings were not statistically significant, a posthoc power analysis revealed that the study was underpowered to detect effects of this magnitude. It may be possible to achieve larger effects by enrolling motivated people into a clinical trial. However, these data suggest that population-based efforts to provide health information have a small effect on self-reported utilization.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wolters Kluwer
Loading ...
Support Center