This paper examines how time pressure, an important constraint faced by medical care providers, affects productivity in primary care. We generate empirical predictions by incorporating time pressure into a model of physician behavior by Tai-Seale and McGuire (2012). We use data from the electronic health records of a large integrated delivery system and leverage unexpected schedule changes as variation in time pressure. We find that greater time pressure reduces the number of diagnoses recorded during a visit and increases both scheduled and unscheduled follow-up care. We also find some evidence of increased low-value care, decreased preventive care, and decreased opioid prescribing.
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