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New Gallup Poll Quantifies U.S. Physician Opinions on the Scope of Defensive Medicine Practices

WASHINGTON, Feb. 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Physicians attribute 26 percent of overall healthcare costs to the practice of defensive medicine according to a study released today by Gallup and Jackson Healthcare.

Physicians generally estimate that defensive medicine costs are higher overall when compared to their own personal practice. While physicians attribute an average of 26 percent of overall costs to defensive medicine, 13 percent believe the practice constitutes 50 percent or more of the cost.

Of the physicians surveyed, 73 percent agreed that they had practiced some form of defensive medicine in the past 12 months. Twenty-three percent of practicing physicians estimate that defensive medicine constitutes less than 10 percent of their practice while 29 percent estimate the percentage to be between 10 percent and less than 25 percent.

Physicians indicating they had practiced a form of defensive medicine in the last twelve months attribute 21 percent of their practice to be defensive in nature.

In the study, defensive medicine was defined in this manner:  "Defensive medicine is the practice of diagnostic or therapeutic measures conducted primarily not to ensure the health of the patient, but as a safeguard against possible malpractice liability. This may include tests, prescriptions, hospitalizations and referrals that may not be medically necessary, but are viewed as providing protection from a potential lawsuit."

Jackson Healthcare retained Gallup for the study in an effort to quantify the scope and impact of defensive medicine practices in the U.S.

Results are based on telephone interviews with 462 randomly selected US physicians. Interviews were conducted in December and January.

ABOUT GALLUP -- Gallup has studied human nature and behavior for more than 70 years. Gallup's reputation for delivering relevant, timely, and visionary research on what people around the world think and feel is the cornerstone of the organization. Gallup employs many of the world's leading scientists in management, economics, psychology, and sociology, and our consultants assist leaders in identifying and monitoring behavioral economic indicators worldwide. Gallup consultants also help organizations boost organic growth by increasing customer engagement and maximizing employee productivity through measurement tools, coursework, and strategic advisory services. Gallup's 2,000 professionals deliver services at client organizations, through the Web, at Gallup University's campuses, and in 40 offices around the world. For more information, go to

ABOUT JACKSON HEALTHCARE -- Founded by the healthcare innovator Richard Jackson, Jackson Healthcare serves more than two million patients in nearly one thousand hospitals each year. The Jackson family of companies provides clinician staffing, anesthesia management, hospital management and healthcare information technology solutions proven to improve clinical and financial outcomes, as well as increase operational efficiency. Jackson Healthcare has also earned national media coverage for its physician polls and international charitable work.  With a 43 percent company annual growth rate in revenue between 2005 and 2008, Jackson was named among the "Fastest Growing Private Companies" by Inc. 5000. In addition, Jackson has been recognized as one of the "Largest and Fastest Growing Staffing Companies," in the country by Staffing Industry Analysts and "One of Atlanta's Best Places to Work" by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. For more information about Jackson and its companies, visit  


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