Study: Physicians Fear Malpractice Suits Regardless of Actual Risk

A recent study has found tort reform may have little effect on defensive medicine practices since physicians have a disproportionate fear of being sued for malpractice compared to the actual risk, according to a University of Iowa news release.

The study, which was led by researchers at the University of Iowa, found physicians' fears of being sued for malpractice were disproportionate to the actual risk of being sued. It suggests tort reform legislation has not alleviated physician concern about malpractice suits and may be ineffective in altering the defensive medicine practices that drive up the cost of healthcare.

Both specialist and generalist physicians feared malpractice lawsuits, even if they practiced in a state where the risk of being sued was relatively low. A UI researcher said one possible explanation for the study's findings is that physicians do not have the information to accurately assess their risk of being sued.

The team surveyed a nationally representative sample of physicians, finding high levels of concern about malpractice lawsuits regardless of specialty or location.

Read the UI release on the recent study regarding physician fear of malpractice lawsuits.

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- Half of Physicians Use at Least Partial EMR in Their Offices: CDC Survey

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