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April 6, 2005

Resurrecting Treatment Histories of Dead Patients

JAMA. 2005;293(13):1591-1592. doi:10.1001/jama.293.13.1591-b

To the Editor: In their Special Communication,1 Dr Bach and colleagues argue that “look-back” studies of decedents produce biased inferences regarding treatment patterns and quality of care because patients who have their initial diagnosis of fatal illness during their last year are not a random sample of those with a disease and thus have systematically different durations of exposure to end-of-life costs and utilization.

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