Authors: Daniel Lukas
Abstract: Objectives: Taking the positive relationship between education and the productivity of medical care for granted, the analysis is focused on, not general, but rather specific education for laymen. Methods: For that, a simple economic decision framework under risk in the case of an acute illness is prepared connected to a definition of specific dimensions of patient autonomy - extension of treatment alternatives and competence of self diagnosis. Education is focused on an increase of patient autonomy and therefore an increase of efficiency of resource allocation. Conclusions: Whether education should be supported strongly depends on the specification of education, specifically whether it is able to focus on each dimension of patient autonomy. If the treatment alternatives are restricted to consultation and self-care, education in this specific context is not necessarily beneficial if the demand for one of these options is stimulated as inefficiently low or high. Practice implications: Educational measures must always be focused on both dimensions of patient autonomy. Otherwise, the danger of stimulating inefficient medical demand through educational measures or of wasting resources through non-effective education can be the result. Moreover, the analysis delivers the degree of individual pessimism as a fundamental reason for an over- or under-consumption of consultation.
Keywords: Education, autonomy, decision-making, health production