case study

What is a doctor-shopping phenomenon?

You may wonder what doctor-shopping is. In a series of publications, I attempted to explain the phenomenon of doctor-shopping and describe its characteristics.


Doctor-shopping has significant consequences for patients and payers, indicating misuse of drugs, polypharmacy, reduced continuity of care, and increased medical expenses. To shed light on this issue, I aimed to review literature describing doctor-shoppers in both adult and pediatric populations. My goal was to identify factors associated with doctor-shopping behavior and investigate the doctor-related factors that might contribute to this phenomenon.

The series of publications can showcase my expertise and motivation to handle challenges faced while working on diverse deliverables
Malgorzata Biernikiewicz
medical writer


Several search strategies were tested to refine the final searches, facilitating the analysis of the doctor-shopping phenomenon. A publication plan was developed to target the health policy audience, and comprehensive full-length papers and posters were planned to disseminate the real-world data findings.


Two papers were successfully published in peer-reviewed journals, and three posters were accepted for presentation at the ISPOR conference. The research has been well-received by the scientific community; to date, it has been cited over 60 times by other researchers.


Biernikiewicz M, Taieb V, Toumi M. Characteristics of doctor-shoppers: a systematic literature review. J Mark Access Health Policy. 2019;7(1):1595953; doi: 10.1080/20016689.2019.1595953.

Biernikiewicz M, Germain N, Toumi M. Second opinions, multiple physician appointments, and overlapping prescriptions in the paediatric population: A systematic literature review. J Eval Clin Pract. 2020;26:1761–176; doi: 10.1111/jep.13365.

Biernikiewicz M, Taieb V, Toumi M. Characteristics of doctor-shoppers- a systematic literature review. PHP2,2018-11, ISPOR Europe 2018, Barcelona, Spain; PHP2.

Jaafer N, Biernikiewicz M, Toumi M. Physician-related factors in doctor-shopping- a systematic literature review. PHP334,2018-11, ISPOR Europe 2018, Barcelona, Spain; PHP334.

Biernikiewicz M, Germain N, Toumi M. Demand for second opinions in the paediatric population- a systematic review of the literature. PHP158,2018-11, ISPOR Europe 2018, Barcelona, Spain; PHP158.