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Many Americans getting “too much” health care, say doctors

Medical doctor

A new survey reveals that 42% of US doctors feel their patients are being given “too much” medical care. The researchers suggest the doctors may be scared of being sued for malpractice by disgruntled patients. 28% of doctors feel their patients are getting “too aggressive” treatments, and 45% of doctors say 10% of their patients have issues that can be solved by email, phone or by a nurse.

System can be Reformed
52% of doctors said their patients are getting the “right” amount of health care, while just six percent were unhappy as they thought their patients received “too little” treatment. These findings were published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Many doctors feel unnecessary care can be substantially reduced and that the malpractice system should be reformed.

US is the Highest Spender
A previous study had revealed that the US stands first in per capita health spending at $5,475. The second highest nation was Switzerland at $3,581. Health care has become a controversial political issue in the US. President Obama’s efforts to reform the health care system and extend medical insurance to 32 million more people has been opposed by Republicans and provoked court cases.

Doctors Fear Being Sued
76% of doctors say they gave their patients more aggressive treatments because they were scared of malpractice suits. Most physicians do not want to give the impression that they are doing less, which will expose them to legal cases. This practice is called defensive medicine and its effect is quite substantial, reveals the survey. 40% of doctors confessed they were not able to spend enough time with their patients.

Testing can be Reduced
The survey also reveals interesting facts about medical testing. 62% of doctors say there would be a reduction in testing if there were no financial incentives. 627 US doctors took part in the mail survey. 70% of the physicians, who were initially mailed, responded to the survey. It was conducted by researchers at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice located in New Hampshire and the VA Outcomes Group located in Vermont.

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