Jason N. Doctor

Jason N. Doctor, PhD

Associate Professor

Pharmaceutical and Health Economics

Contact Information

Jason N. Doctor

Research Interest

Dr. Doctor is a health economist whose overall research program centers on decision-making in health and medicine. He specializes in outcomes measurement and medical decision making under risk, with expertise in behavioral economic models of choice. His current federally-funded project investigates the decision models to identify and reduce the costs of medical errors. In this project he employs algorithms to detect errors in blood panels. The primary aim of the project is to develop techniques for identifying errors so that lab errors can be caught early, unnecessary testing can be prevented and the correct diagnosis can be made in less time.

Dr. Doctor is also developing new ways to measure health outcomes for use in economic studies. From a theoretical economics standpoint, he investigates how to measure people's preferences for health. Traditional methods for measuring the value of health have focus narrowly on the self-interested individual in society and have assumed that such an individual makes rational choices so as to maximize gain. Dr. Doctor's research considers other factors that may affect health preferences. These include preferences for helping others in need (social preferences) and representing mathematically the cognitive limitations people may have in abiding by rational principles in decision making.

Future areas of research that Dr. Doctor is looking to study include the use of behavioral economics to improve physician adherence to medical guidelines and increase their use of comparatively effective treatments (treatments that best address a medical problem compared to other options). Dr. Doctor sees this research as relevant given the when treatments are judged to be superior clinical trials and outcome studies they often are not implemented to a high degree in clinical practice. It is possible that behavioral economic interventions to promote the use of comparatively effective treatments could be a cost effective way to influence physician behavior.


Dr. Doctor received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California at San Diego. He served as a research fellow at the University of Washington. Prior to coming to USC this year, Dr. Doctor was an Associate Professor of Medical Education & Biomedical Informatics, Health Services and Rehabilitation Medicine at the University of Washington.

Selected Projects/Publications

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Doctor JN, Miyamoto JM. Deriving quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) from constant proportional time trade and risk posture conditions. J Mathematical Psychology 2003; 47,557-567.

Doctor JN, Bleichrodt H, Miyamoto JM, Temkin NR, Dikem SS. A new and more robust test of QALYs. J Health Economics 2004; 23,353-367.

Bleichrodt H, Doctor J, Stolk E. Equity weighting QALYs:the rank dependent QALY model. J Health Economics 2005; 24,655-678.

Doctor JN, Castro J, Temkin NR, Fraser RT, Machamer JE, Dikmen SS. Workers' risk of unemployment after traumatic brain injury: a normed comparison. J International Neuropsychological Society 2005; 11,1-6.

Doctor JN, Miyamoto JM. Person tradeoffs and the problem of risk. Expert Reviews in Pharmacoeconomics & Outcome Research 2005;5,667-682.

Sox CM, Koepsell TD, Doctor JN, Christakis DA. Pediatricians' clinical decision making: results of two randomized controlled trials of decisions support. Arch Ped and Adol Med 2006; 160,487-492.

Kahn JM, Doctor JN, Rubenfeld GD. Stress ulcer prophlaxis in mechanically ventilated patients: integrating evidence and judgment using a decision analysis. Intensive Care Medicine 2006, {Epub ahead of print}.