Defensive medical practices consume 35% of orthopaedic imaging costs, study finds

BMJ 2011; 342 doi: (Published 16 February 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;342:d1037
  1. Bob Roehr
  1. 1Washington, DC

A third of all money spent on imaging in orthopaedics in the US is used to avoid accusations of medical negligence or malpractice, a study has found.

Although the number of defensive imaging procedures was smaller (19.7%), they tended to be more expensive magnetic resonance images. Defensive magnetic resonance images constituted 84.6% of defensive costs and 29.5% of total costs.

John Flynn, senior author of the paper and associate chief of orthopaedic surgery at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told the BMJ that surgeons who have been sued within the past five years and those who have been in practice at least 15 years were more likely to order …

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