To evaluate the impact of tort reform on defensive medicine, quality of care, and physician supply.
Empirical, peer‐reviewed English‐language studies in the and HeinOnline databases that evaluated the association between tort reform and our study outcomes.
We performed a systematic review in accordance with the guidelines.
Title and abstract screening was followed by full‐text screening of relevant citations. We created evidence tables, grouped studies by outcome, and qualitatively compared the findings of included studies. We assigned a higher rating to study designs that controlled for unobservable sources of confounding.
Thirty‐seven studies met screening criteria. Caps on damages, collateral‐source rule reform, and joint‐and‐several liability reform were the most common types of tort reform evaluated in the included studies. We found that caps on noneconomic damages were associated with a decrease in defensive medicine, increase in physician supply, and decrease in health care spending, but had no effect on quality of care. Other reform approaches did not have a clear or consistent impact on study outcomes.
We conclude that traditional tort reform methods may not be sufficient for health reform and policy makers should evaluate and incorporate newer approaches.
Data Collection/Extraction Methods