Use of high- and low-value care among US adults by education levels

Sungchul Park, Ann M. Nguyen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Healthcare reform in the United States has focused on improving the value of health care, but there are some concerns about the inequitable delivery of value-based care. Objective: We examine whether the receipt of high- and low-value care differs by education levels. Methods: We employed a repeated cross-sectional study design using data from the 2010–2019 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Our outcomes included 8 high-value services across 3 categories and 9 low-value services across 3 categories. Our primary independent variable was education level: (i) no degree, (ii) high school diploma, and (iii) college graduate. We conducted a linear probability model while adjusting for individual-level characteristics and estimated the adjusted values of the outcomes for each education group. Results: In almost all services, the use of high-value care was greater among more educated adults than less educated adults. Compared to those with no degree, those with a college degree were significantly more likely to receive all high-value services except for HbA1c measurement, ranging from blood pressure measurement (4.5 percentage points [95% CI: 3.9–5.1]) to colorectal cancer screening (15.6 percentage points [95% CI: 13.9–17.3]). However, there were no consistent patterns of the use of low-value care by education levels. Conclusion: Our findings suggest that more educated adults were more likely to receive high-value cancer screening, high-value diagnostic and preventive testing, and high-value diabetes care than less educated adults. These findings highlight the importance of implementing tailored policies to address education-based inequities in the delivery of high-value services in the United States.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)560-563
Number of pages4
JournalFamily Practice
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2023

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  • United States
  • disparity
  • education
  • high-value care
  • low-value care
  • value-based care


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