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Curbing Defensive Medicine

Defensive medicine is a term used to describe practices that doctors engage in to protect themselves from possible liability claims. Defensive medicine includes any procedure that a doctor may prescribe in order to protect him or herself from liability. It typically involves extra testing or diagnostic procedures on a patient in order to “be sure” the doctor is taking the correct route. These tests are not only dangerous in terms of potential side effects, but they also waste time and money for both patients and hospitals and add strain to an already overtaxed healthcare system.

Massachusetts Hospitals Trying to Curb the Practice

Massachusetts healthcare organizations are working to curb this defensive medicine practice by using a system designed to improve patient safety, reduce costs and increase transparency. The process is called “disclosure, apology and offer.” The idea is to give full disclosure to patients when an incident or error has occurred but still provide adequate compensation in the unfortunate event that there is an injury or loss. This system aims to replace the current medical malpractice model in a way that is more efficient to all.

Changes in Patient Care

Under the new Massachusetts proposal, it is likely that doctors will be able to focus more of their attention on caring for their patients and worry less about being sued. In theory, patients will receive better care and be more informed about their condition and any procedures they will be undergoing.

The new system, however, will likely run into its bumps in the road, and it is still in its infancy, so there is no proof that it will be a workable solution. Patients who have been injured by the negligence of a care provider should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney in their area to learn more about possible legal action.