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Publications

Reporting of research data from the Dartmouth Atlas Project takes several forms. We have produced twenty book-length editions of The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care; several brief reports covering specific topics and/or clinical subject areas; and a number of issue briefs on relevant health policy topics. Atlas investigators also have an extensive bibliography of scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals. Please use the links on the right to locate our publications.

Recently released: The Dartmouth Atlas of Children's Health Care in Northern New England. The Dartmouth Atlas has produced the first report showing the patterns of care received by nearly the entire population of infants and children in Northern New England for ambulatory physician services, hospitalization, common surgery, imaging, and outpatient prescription fills. The findings from this report show marked variation in care across the region; while there are many examples of excellent care, the findings raise troubling questions about whether the medical practice patterns reflect the care that infants and children need and that their families want.

The Dartmouth Atlas of Medicare Prescription Drug Use. In its first look at prescription drug use, released October 15, 2013, the Dartmouth Atlas Project shows that the use of both effective and risky drug therapies by Medicare patients varies widely across U.S. regions, offering further evidence that location is a key determinant in the quality and cost of the medical care that patients receive. The report also finds that the health status of a region’s Medicare population accounts for less than a third of the variation in total prescription drug use, and that higher spending is not related to higher use of proven drug therapies. The study raises questions about whether regional practice culture explains differences in the quality and quantity of prescription drug use.

Trends in Cancer Care Near the End of Life: A Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care Brief. This brief, posted September 4, 2013, finds that the care that elderly patients with cancer receive does not always reflect their own preferences, but the prevailing styles of treatment in the regions and health care systems where they happen to receive cancer treatment. Although the use of hospice care for Medicare patients with advanced cancer is increasing, many patients do not receive hospice care until they are literally on their deathbeds; and, despite increases in the use of hospice care, more patients were treated in intensive care units in their last month of life in 2010 than in the period from 2003 to 2007.

Tracking Improvement in the Care of Chronically Ill Patients: A Dartmouth Atlas Brief on Medicare Beneficiaries Near the End of Life. This brief, posted June 12, 2013, demonstrates that improvements in care have occurred between 2007 and 2010 for chronically ill Medicare patients in their last six months of life. However, the pace of change varied across regions and hospitals, with some experiencing rapid change while other health systems showed little improvement.




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The Dartmouth Atlas of Health Care is based at The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice and is supported by a coalition of funders led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, including the WellPoint Foundation, the United Health Foundation, the California HealthCare Foundation, and the Charles H. Hood Foundation.