Physicians believe 20% of medical care is unnecessary

Most physicians think overtreatment is common in the U.S., according to study published in PLOS One, believing 20.6 percent of all medical care was unnecessary, including 22 percent of prescriptions, 24.9 percent of tests and 11.1 percent of procedures.

Malpractice fears contributed to these unnecessary services, according to 85 percent of the survey respondents. Another 59 percent said patient pressure was a factor and 38 percent pinned part of the blame on difficult accessing a patient’s prior medical history. Physicians also put some of the blame on themselves, with 70.8 percent saying they believed doctors would be more likely to perform unnecessary procedures when they profit from them, which could be addressed by value-based payment models.

As for other potential solutions, the most common suggestions were better training for residents on appropriateness criteria (55.2 percent), easy access to outside records (52 percent) and more practice guidelines (51.5 percent).

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