A heavily qualified study by Anupam B. Jenna, M.D., of the Harvard Medical School, found that physicians who spend money (and time) on patients were less likely to be sued.
The study found an significant inverse association between spending and probability of a malpractice claim.
Dr. Jenna told MedPage Today:
“One of the reasons that might be the case is our research highlights the possibility that by asking doctors to reduce their spending, it may expose them to additional liability risk. It may help explain why doctors may be reluctant to reduce their utilization, because there could be a direct cost to them of doing so.”
But MedPage Today said that Jena concluded that it’s too early to say physicians should continue to spend more on their patients.
“I think that kind of reasoning would follow from our findings, but this is the first study to really answer this question. Before I would feel comfortable making that kind of conclusion, we would want to see additional evidence on the topic.”
He added: “Patients may look at spending as a reflection of how much investment the doctor made in a particular case. In cases where spending is higher, patients are relatively more reassured than in cases where spending was lower.”