Decision-case mix model for analyzing variation in cesarean rates

Leslie Eldenburg, William S. Waller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


This article contributes a decision-case mix model for analyzing variation in c-section rates. Like recent contributions to the literature, the model systematically takes into account the effect of case mix. Going beyond past research, the model highlights differences in physician decision making in response to obstetric factors. Distinguishing the effects of physician decision making and case mix is important in understanding why c-section rates vary and in developing programs to effect change in physician behavior. The model was applied to a sample of deliveries at a hospital where physicians exhibited considerable variation in their c-section rates. Comparing groups with a low versus high rate, the authors' general conclusion is that the difference in physician decision tendencies (to perform a c-section), in response to specific obstetric factors, is at least as important as case mix in explaining variation in c-section rates. The exact effects of decision making versus case mix depend on how the model application defines the obstetric condition of interest and on the weighting of deliveries by their estimated "risk of Cesarean." The general conclusion is supported by an additional analysis that uses the model's elements to predict individual physicians' annual c-section rates.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)170-179
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Decision Making
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001


  • Case mix
  • Cesarean section rates
  • Decision models

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy


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