How can we differentiate between defensive medicine and “good” medicine?

In part six of Healthcare Matter’s interview with Anupam Jena, MD, PhD, we discuss with Dr. Jena whether or not it is possible to differentiate between defensive medicine and “good” medicine. He explains that this is difficult to do and was not addressed in the research for the study Physician spending and subsequent risk of malpractice claims: observational study. However, he explains that the question of patient outcomes, which can help to parse out whether additional spending was defensive or not, is something that he is addressing in his current research. Additionally, he states that for individual physicians, the takeaway that more spending results in being sued less often may help physicians to make better decisions on how much care to provide.

A medical doctor and economist, Dr. Jena is Associate Professor of Healthcare Policy and Medicine at Harvard Medical School and an assistant physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. His research areas include medical malpractice, the economics of medical innovation and cost effectiveness, geographic variation in medical care and insurance benefit design.

See Part VI of our wide-ranging interview with Dr. Jena below, or watch the entire program here.


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