Perception of Malpractice Risk is Contagious Among Colleagues Interview with:

Dan LyPh.D. Program in Health PolicyHarvard

Dan Ly

Dan Ly, MD, MPP
Ph.D. Program in Health Policy
Harvard What is the background for this study?

Response: There is some mixed evidence regarding whether state level tort reform reduces defensive medicine, or the practicing of medicine in such a way to reduce medical liability. This includes “positive” defensive medicine, or performing certain tests and procedures to reduce such liability. Other research finds that the perception of malpractice risk drives such defensive medicine, including the use of diagnostic imaging, such as CT scans and MRIs.

I was interested in exploring what influenced the perception of this risk, hypothesizing that, for a physician, a report of an injury against one’s colleague might increase the perception of this risk and lead to an increase the use of diagnostic imaging.

Continue reading

Defensive Medicine is Real and Raises Health Care Costs Interview with:
Jonathan Gruber PhD
Department of Economics, E52-434
Cambridge, MA 02139 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? 

Response: There is a large literature trying to estimate the extent of ‘defensive  medicine’ by looking at what happens when it gets harder to sue and/or  you can win less money. But there have been no studies of what happens if you just get rid of the right to sue.  That’s what we have with active duty patients treated on a military base.

The main finding is that when patients can’t sue they are treated about  5% less intensively.  Much of the effect appears to arise from fewer diagnostic tests.

Continue reading