Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Defensive medicine is widespread

A report from the American Medical News says, "Defensive medicine to avoid liability lawsuits is widespread."  This report is based on a 2010 paper published in the Annals of Internal Medicine titled, "Physicians’ Views on Defensive Medicine: A National Survey."  Since that article doesn't have an abstract, here's a brief summary from the American Medical News story:
Many doctors in a nationwide survey agreed that unnecessary diagnostic tests will not end without protections against unwarranted lawsuits. 
Here are some snippets:
  • About nine in 10 physicians said doctors order more tests and procedures than patients need so they can protect themselves against lawsuits.
  • 91% of the 1,231 physicians surveyed nationwide agreed that doctors will not stop using unnecessary diagnostic tests without protections against unwarranted lawsuits.
  • The cost of defensive medicine is estimated to be $60 billion annually.
Frivolous lawsuits are driving physicians to practice defensive medicine and the high volume of unnecessary tests are often leading to additional tests and procedures. When will this country experience the type of reform we need to improve the health care system so that we're not experiencing so much waste in this country?

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