The Art of Defensive Medicine

Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD

The Art of Defensive Medicine” Defensive medicine is the use of costly medical treatments for the sole purpose of avoiding potential litigation. Physicians often order additional tests or treatments, despite the presence of a conclusive diagnosis. Although it is not certain how great an effect these practices have on overall costs, much evidence has been found through physician surveys that this is standard practice. One study found that 76% of doctors are concerned that malpractice litigation has hurt their ability to provide quality care to patients.

Seventy nine percent claimed that they had ordered more tests than necessary, and 91% knew other physicians that ordered an excessive number of tests. In addition, 41% of
physicians claimed that they had prescribed unnecessary medications, such as antibiotics for viral illnesses. Defensive medicine not only adds to the costs of health care but also increases patients’ risks.”
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