Physicians feel that defensive medicine is adding to heath care cost crisis

Defensive medicine is estimated to cost over 650 billion dollars per year, which is 25 – 34% of the United States’ annual healthcare expenditure, according to a study by Jackson Healthcare.

For the study, physicians from across the country were surveyed.

Key findings:

  • 92% of physicians surveyed reported practicing some form of defensive medicine, which include ordering unnecessary diagnostic exams, lab work, and surgeries to avoid a lawsuit.
  • 83% of physicians ages 25 – 34 reported being taught how to practice defensive medicine in medical school.
  • 75% of those surveyed thought that defensive medicine will add to the physician shortage.
  • In a 2011 survey of physicians from Canada, New Zealand, UK, and Sweden, no physicians reported ordering unnecessary tests or procedures to avoid a lawsuit.

(Sources: Jackson Healthcare,, September 2011; The Advisory Board Daily Briefing,, September 28, 2011