Physicians estimate the cost of defensive medicine to be between 26 and 34 percent of total annual healthcare costs. At an estimated $2.5 trillion in annual spending, this means $650-850 billion is spent each year on medical orders intended to avoid lawsuits rather than treat patients.
A new published report by Jackson Healthcare, A Costly Defense: Physicians Sound Off on the High Price of Defensive Medicine, summarizes physician opinions on defensive medicine collected between October 2009 and May 2011. The economic and non-economic impacts of defensive medicine may be significantly greater than previously estimated.
According to the publication, no physician respondents in the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada and Sweden reported practicing defensive medicine. Likewise, physicians working under contract with the federal government reported practicing significantly less defensive medicine than their private sector peers.
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