Translating frontiers into practice: Taking the next steps toward improving hospital efficiency
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Frontier techniques, including data envelopment analysis (DEA) and stochastic frontier analysis (SFA), have been used to measure health care provider efficiency in hundreds of published studies. Although these methods have the potential to be useful to decision makers, their utility is limited by both methodological questions concerning their application, as well as some disconnect between the information they provide and the insight sought by decision makers. The articles in this special issue focus on the application of DEA and SFA to hospitals with the hope of making these techniques more accurate and accessible to end users. This introduction to the special issue highlights the importance of measuring the efficiency of health care providers, provides a background on frontier techniques, contains an overview of the articles in the special issue, and suggests a research agenda for DEA and SFA. © The Author(s) 2011.
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