| May 27, 2011

Docs order tests to protect themselves first, treat patients second

Overconsumption of healthcare services is the primary driver of escalating healthcare spending. But what contributes to overconsumption? The third-party payment system of employer sponsored insurance is the single biggest factor, but defensive medicine ── where a physician orders unnecessary tests or prescribes unnecessary treatments to limit his or her own malpractice liability ── plays a significant role as well. A new survey of emergency room physicians recently found the number one reason doctors order many tests is to protect themselves from lawsuits.

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