Forty-two percent of primary-care physicians believe that patients in their own practice are receiving too much care, according to survey results published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.
Four in 10 docs say their patients receive too much care
The mail survey of 627 physicians also found that only 6% believed patients receive too little care, with the balance of 52% saying the amount of care was just right.
The biggest reasons cited for providing aggressive care were: malpractice concerns (76%), clinical performance measures (52%) and inadequate time to spend with patients (40%), according to the survey results.
Twenty-eight percent of respondents said they personally were practicing too aggressively. More than four in 10 (45%) estimated that care could be handled by phone, e-mail or by a nurse for at least one in 10 of their patient visits.
The authors wrote that they believe the findings have important implications, including that physicians are open to practicing more conservatively. "There needs to be a fundamental realignment of financial incentives and reform of the malpractice system. … Reimbursement systems should encourage longer primary-care physician visits and telephone, e-mail and nursing follow-up, rather than diagnostic intensity," the authors wrote.
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