The Standing Committee of European Doctors (CPME) has published new recommendations to reduce the practice of so-called ‘defensive medicine’, where tests, procedures or consultations of little or no value are supplied with the aim of reducing adverse outcomes and deterring patients from taking legal action, or where the treatment of certain patients is refused to protect the physician from legal action.
In a new position paper adopted by the CPME, the organisation highlights how the practice of defensive medicine is widespread. It said while all diagnostic-therapeutic areas are affected, some medical specialties are affected more often than others.
The CPME has set out a series of recommendations for both professionals and policy-makers to prevent and reduce the practice. These include practising more valuable care for every patient through informed choices and good conversation. “With a patient engagement and clear communication promote awareness about appropriate care, unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures,” the CPME says. It also recommends the maintenance of clear, well-documented and detailed medical records as well as maintaining continuous professionals' development. It has recommended that policy-makers engage in a debate with the public to contribute to improving media literacy on health information in particular in relation to online sources.