Physicians attribute higher costs to defensive medicine

March 19, 2010

Physicians attribute 26 percent of overall healthcare costs to the practice of ordering extra tests, referrals, procedures, and hospitalizations to protect themselves from medical malpractice lawsuits.

Physicians attribute 26 percent of overall healthcare costs to the practice of ordering extra tests, referrals, procedures, and hospitalizations to protect themselves from medical malpractice lawsuits, according to a study released in February by Gallup and Jackson Healthcare.

Physicians estimate that "defensive medicine" costs are greater across the United States than in their own personal practices, according to Gallup's survey of 462 physicians. One in eight physicians say they believe defensive medicine constitutes half or more of healthcare costs.