by Tom aka Rusty Rustbelt Health
Care Thoughts: Research on Defensive Medicine (Part 1)
(Background – I have been an executive in two orthopaedic centers, and write and lecture for orthopaedic practice executives.)
A Vanderbilt research survey of orthopaedic surgeons indicate that 24% of diagnostic testing is “defensive medicine.” This does not surprise me, as I have been in the room when defensive medicine protocols have be decided. I have been involved in settling about two dozen malpractice suits against orthopedists (three had some merit, one was certainly malpractice). I also have done analysis for both sides in other malpractice actions.
Orthopaedists treat patients who have intense pain from serious injuries and conditions, and many of those patients have high expectations for positive outcomes. Those outcomes are not always possible, despite near miraculous results in many cases. But don’t they have insurance? Yes, but the stress and costs of a malpractice suit grind on physicians, even when suits are ridiculous it is a very unpleasant experience. An orthopaedist who does surgery without an MRI study puts him/herself in real jeopardy, and to be fair some lab and cardiology tests are required by accreditation standards.
More on access in part 2.