Doctor Shopping and the Patient Sharing Network of Healthcare Providers
MetadataShow full item record
Patients with chronic opioid use disorder (OUD) often engage in “doctor shopping” to improperly obtain prescription opioids. An analysis of the patient sharing network of healthcare providers that serve patients with OUD can be used to identify the likelihood that a provider is involved in such behavior. This study relied on Medicaid claims to construct a graph that had healthcare providers as nodes and the number of shared patients as edge weights. It observed the network at the global level using descriptive statistics and at the local level using community detection algorithms. The study then investigated the impact of patient population characteristics on graph variation using exponential random graph models. Statistical analysis revealed a sparse graph where healthcare providers with similar patient demographics were more likely to share an edge. This may indicate that demographics are a key factor in deciding network structure.