Introduction The term defensive medicine, referring to actions motivated primarily by litigious concerns, originates from the USA and has been used in medical research literature since the late 1960s. Differences in medical legal systems between the US and most European countries with no tort legislation raise the question whether the US definition of defensive medicine holds true in Europe.
Aim To present the protocol of a systematic review investigating variations in definitions and understandings of the term ‘defensive medicine’ in European research articles.
Methods and analysis In concordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses guidelines, a systematic review of all medical research literature that investigate defensive medicine will be performed by two independent reviewers. The databases PubMed, Embase and Cochrane will be systematically searched on the basis of predetermined criteria. Data from all included European studies will systematically be extracted including the studies’ definitions and understandings of defensive medicine, especially the motives for doing medical actions that the study regards as ‘defensive’.
Ethics and dissemination No ethics clearance is required as no primary data will be collected. The results of the systematic review will be published in a peer-reviewed, international journal.
PROSPERO registration number This review has been submitted to International Prospective Register of Systematic Reviews (PROSPERO) and is awaiting registration.
- defensive medicine
- systematic review
This is an open access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited, appropriate credit is given, any changes made indicated, and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
Contributors NB contributes to conceptualisation, protocol design, development of search strategy, study inclusion, data extraction, quality assessment, data analysis/synthesis, drafting and writing of protocol and manuscript. PS contributes to conceptualisation, development of search strategy, study inclusion, data extraction, quality assessment, data analysis/synthesis, drafting and writing of manuscript. EAH contributes to conceptualisation, protocol design, writing of protocol and manuscript. HG contributes to conceptualisation, protocol design, writing of manuscript. MKA contributes to conceptualisation, protocol design, writing of manuscript. JL contributes to conceptualisation, protocol design, study inclusion, writing of protocol and manuscript.
Funding NB was supported by 'General practitioners’ education and development fund' (Praktiserende Lægers Uddannelses og Udviklingsfond) with 27.810,00 DKK. EAH, HG, MKA and JL were financed through their institutions.
Disclaimer The funders had no role in developing the protocol.
Competing interests None declared.
Patient consent for publication Not required.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.