How Can Clinicians Balance Overuse and Fears of Litigation?

Neel Shah, MD, MPP, Obstetrician/Gynecologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center; Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School; Founder of Costs of Care


Learning Objectives: At the end of this activity, you will be able to:

  • Identify at least two reasons that clinicians “overuse” the health care system (for example, ordering unnecessary tests).
  • Discuss why younger clinicians may feel more pressure to overuse health care resources.
  • Recognize the role that care redesign can play in reducing overuse in health care.

Description: Neel Shah, MD, MPP, an obstetrician/gynecologist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, has been passionate about reducing costs and waste in the health care system since he started practicing. Why has the time come for value-based care? And what’s one easy way to identify waste in a system?

Discussion Questions:

  1. Neel says that “the fear of medical malpractice is definitely much higher than the risk of medical malpractice.” Do you agree? Why or why not?
  2. Neel suggests that there are 10 to 20 other reasons, aside from fear of litigation, that clinicians over-order tests. How many can you identify? And how can providers help curb that trend?
  3. What role can care redesign play in reducing overuse in health care?
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