Influence on the Clinical Practice of Emergency Medicine

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Experts have estimated that defensive medicine wastes up to $210 billion annually. Medicolegal concerns have been cited in previous published reports as a contributing factor to the ordering of unnecessary tests. Not only does defensive medicine add to the bottom line of health care costs, additional tests, medications, and hospital admissions may adversely affect patient care by increasing radiation exposure, adverse medication reactions, and nosocomial infections. This study was undertaken to describe physicians’ self-reports of frequency of additional testing, patient instructions, medications, prescriptions, and admissions related to medicolegal concerns.