Causal difference-in-differences estimation for evaluating the impact of semi-continuous medical home scores on health care for children

  • Bing HanEmail author
  • Hao Yu


Difference-in-differences (DID) is a popular approach in observational and quasi-experimental studies to estimate the effects of a treatment with discrete statuses. In many studies, however, the treatment can have a range of dosages or exposure levels. In our paper, “medical homeness” is a semi-continuous score ranging from 0 to 100 to indicate the extent to which a patient-centered medical home model is achieved. We developed a causal DID approach to estimating the effects of a treatment with semi-continuous dosages. The proposed approach allows for mixed-type designs as well as different propensity models. We applied the proposed approach to evaluate the dosage effect of medical homeness scores on the utilization and quality of children’s health care. We found that there was a roughly linear effect of medical homeness scores on the annual number of visits to doctor offices when medical homeness scores were below 60 points. The number of office visits did not further increase when medical homeness scores were above 60. A similar relationship was found between medical homeness scores and ratings for health care quality.


Medical home Difference-in-differences Causal inference 



This study was funded by the Grant R21HD078881 from Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development and by the Grant R01HS023336 from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© RAND Corporation 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RAND CorporationSanta MonicaUSA
  2. 2.RAND CorporationPittsburghUSA

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