When it comes to malpractice, it seems physicians have developed their own case of "white-coat syndrome."
Their worries about malpractice litigation might actually be making it worse, and hurting healthcare in the process. That's because doctors are keeping their mistakes under wraps, or performing too many tests or costly procedures to avoid a trip to the courthouse.
Instead, physicians should be opening lines of communication with patients, admitting when something goes wrong, and curtailing excessive treatments. They can fight the tort war one step at a time from the moment they pick up that stethoscope.
Two recent reports express urgency about the need to change.
A recent HealthLeaders Media Industry 2012 survey (PDF) shows that a whopping 58% of physician leaders said they ordered a test or procedure for primarily defensive medicine reasons in the past year.
That figure is all the more stunning because only 2% reported ordering a test or procedure for primarily revenue-related reasons.