Becoming the Standard

How Innovative Procedures Benefitting Public Health are Incorporated Into the Standard of Care

Physicians' resistance to implementing innovative medical procedures due to a perceived risk of liability can adversely affect the public's health. This resistance prevents public access to procedures that could better treat communicable or chronic diseases. Innovative procedures, for the purpose of this article, are medical practices that require physicians to modify current clinical approaches to treating or diagnosing a patient's condition and incorporate: (1) newly developed tests, treatments, drugs or devices, (e.g., genetic screening to identify drug sensitivities to reduce adverse drug reactions); or (2) novel methods not commonly used by a majority of physicians, (e.g., partner delivered therapy to treat an intimate partner for a communicable disease or advanced prescription of naloxone to patients prone to an opioid overdose). Innovative procedures do not include treatments provided during clinical research or those beyond a physician's scope of practice.