Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Malpractice fears drive US system

I wonder if this is the case in Canada?
I recently read the book, A Bitter Pill; How the medical system is failing the elderly, by Dr. John Sloan.

By Dina Overland

Doctors admit to being part of the healthcare problem, confessing that they provide too much medical care in a US survey published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. Malpractice concerns, current reimbursement structure, and quality measurement systems drove them to practice more aggressive healthcare.

  • Of 627 surveyed physicians, 42% said their patients "were receiving too much medical care"
  • Another 28 percent said they had ordered more tests and made more referrals to specialists than they would like.
Drivers of their more aggressive practices

  • Fear of malpractice lawsuits (76%) 
  • Clinical performance measures (52%)
  • Claimed don't spend enough time with their patients to figure out what's wrong, so they ordered tests and consultations to provide answers. (40%)
  • Could be sued if they didn't order a test that was indicated (83%)
  • Doctors thought other primary care physicians driven by extra income from ordering more tests (40%)
  • Yet, only 3% said this was *their* influence.
"Reimbursement model for most healthcare encourages utilization in a variety of ways."

To learn more:
- check out the study
- read the Wall Street Journal article
- check out the Los Angeles Times article
- read the Reuters article

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