Hospital administrators estimate that one-third of healthcare costs are the result of tests and treatments that aren’t medically necessary and ordered to prevent lawsuits, according to a new survey by Atlanta-based Jackson Healthcare. Conducted between February 7 and March 25, 2014, 106 hospital executives answered that they believe some physicians practice defensive medicine.
Key findings of the survey include:
Ninety-four percent of survey participants affirmed that the practice of defensive medicine drives up healthcare costs in the U.S.
- An estimated average of 57 percent of physicians practice defensive medicine.
- Survey participants were divided on how defensive medicine impacts the quality of patient care.
- Thirty-two percent believe it has a negative impact.
- Thirty-one percent said it has a positive impact and 30 percent said it had no impact.
- 65 percent of executives believe defensive medicine negatively impacts performance.
- Only 27 percent reported a positive impact to defensive medicine on healthcare costs
In a survey conducted by Gallup in 2010, found that one in four healthcare dollars could be attributed to defensive medicine. In addition, the same poll found that 73 percent of physicians agreed that they had practiced some form of defensive medicine in the past 12 months.
“We have been studying the reach and impact of defensive medicine for five years and the conclusions are consistent,” said Richard L. Jackson, chairman and CEO of Jackson Healthcare. “The data shows defensive medicine is impacting healthcare costs and is a uniquely American problem.”