Physicians cited “fear of malpractice” as the top reason for the overtreatment of patients, according to a new study.
Eight of every 10 doctors attributed overtreatment to fear of malpractice (84.7%), patient pressure or request was the next highest reason cited (59.0%), followed by difficulty accessing prior medical records (38.2%), according to the study in PLOS One.
The survey of 2,106 U.S. physicians found on average they believe 20.6% of medical care is unnecessary, including 22% of prescriptions, 24.9% of tests and 11.1% of procedures.
More than seven in 10 respondents said there is a chance profit encourages overtreatment.
The top three cited potential solutions were “training residents on appropriateness criteria” (55.2%), “easy access to outside health records” (52.0%), and “more practice guidelines” (51.5%), according to the survey.
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, doctors ordered more than $9,500 in tests and treatments per person in the U.S. in 2014.
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