Doctors who ordered extra medical tests and procedures for patients had the lowest risk of being sued for malpractice, according to a new study.
Researchers found that doctors across all specialties who practiced defensive medicine, providing the most costly care between 2000 and 2009, were also least likely to be sued between 2001 and 2010.
Extra tests and procedures have not been shown to improve health outcomes, but it costs the United States roughly $50-$60 billion per year, according to reports.
The Affordable Care Act includes provisions to motivate healthcare provides to reduce medically unnecessary tests and reduce costs.
“Although not conclusive, our study provides initial evidence on why efforts to reduce health care spending among physicians may meet sluggish opposition,” said lead author Dr. Anupam Jena, of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, in a press release. “Physicians may perceive a potential tradeoff between lowering spending and increasing risk of malpractice.”
Researchers from Harvard, Stanford and the University of Southern California reviewed data on nearly 18.5 million hospital admissions in Florida between 2000 and 2009 and data on the malpractice histories of the nearly 25,000 doctors who worked with those patients.
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