Hospital administrators estimate more than half of physicians practice defensive medicine and that such unnecessary medical treatment accounts for one-third of all health care costs. Dr. Howard Brody of UTMB coauthored a study in the February 2010 Journal of General Internal Medicine about defensive medicine, cost containment and reform. The study found the subjective aspects of defensive medicine render the practice nearly impossible to quantify. "I believe that the basic problem is that physicians seldom do anything for one reason only," Brody said. "Any test or treatment that’s ordered may be ordered for several reasons, one of which might be defensive medicine, but it’s very hard to disentangle how much that contributes among the various other reasons. The best-conducted studies we could find would produce estimates of the actual cost of preventive medicine far below what this recent survey suggests." [Note: Free registration required to view entire article, or contact Marketing and Communications.]