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8/5/2014 - Poll: Physicians Say Contemporaries Routinely Order Unnecessary Tests

A new poll shows many doctors believe their peers perform more tests than necessary.

Though performing one's due diligence is a key component of the medical treatment process, a new study indicates that a number of physicians believe their fellow doctors often perform one too many procedures.

Close to three in every four doctors - 73% - noted that they considered unnecessary or superfluous testing to be a problem in the health care system, according to a survey performed by the American Board for Internal Medicine. Of these, approximately 30% said that they thought the gravity of the issue could reasonably be defined as serious.

Additionally, close to three-quarters of physicians indicated that the typical doctor orders at least one superfluous test on a weekly basis, the poll found.

Practitioners themselves admitted that they fell victim to this trend on occasion as well. Just under half of responding physicians estimated that they performed an unnecessary test or procedure once a week.

As for the reasons why doctors order tests that may be unnecessary, most said that they did in order to err on the side of caution, particularly with regard to liability concerns. The Choosing Wisely survey revealed that just over half - 52% - of doctors said malpractice was the primary reason why extraneous procedures were done. The second most common reason was just to be safe, followed by reassurance purposes.

Richard Jackson, chairman of health care staffing company Jackson Healthcare, indicated that defensive medicine is a key driver of the cost of receiving treatment in today's medical offices.

"The data shows defensive medicine is impacting health care costs and is a uniquely American problem," said Jackson.

Professional liability insurance covers hospitals and aging services organizations in the event of a lawsuit where malpractice is alleged. For more information, contact an independent Selective agent that's nearby.

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