It would seem pretty obvious that there would be some correlation between doctors ordering more tests and being sued for medical malpractice less often, but until earlier this month, there has been no evidence to truly solidify that assumption. A new study done by researchers from USC, Harvard and Stanford has confirmed that spending more money per patient on tests will substantially reduce the risk of medical malpractice.
The Cost of Healthcare
The study points out another flaw in the effort to reform American healthcare. “More and more we are relying on physicians to help eliminate wasteful spending in health care. However, if physicians perceive that lowering spending will subject them to greater malpractice risk, it will be that much harder to move the needle on health care spending,” said Seth Seabury, one of the USC researchers.
Despite the obvious advantages of spending more money per patient, practicing what physicians are calling “defensive medicine,” U.S. government officials are still working tirelessly to force hospitals into spending less on each patient.
Unfortunately, there is a significant and troublesome trade-off associated with practicing defensive medicine. On one hand, allowing doctors to spend more money on each of their patients leads to drastically lower rates of malpractice, but also increases the cost of healthcare by an equally breathtaking figure.
Which scenario is less desirable; cheaper healthcare with higher risk of medical malpractice injuries, or higher cost with a reduced risk of malpractice?