How to Avoid Drug Side Effects

How likely are you to experience side effects? In the U.S., about 750 people 65 and older are hospitalized each day because of them, according to a 2019 report from the Lown Institute, a nonpartisan think tank. Other research has found that almost 80 percent of people 70 and older experience at least one drug side effect in a six-month period. More

Coronavirus UK: Could deaths be lower than feared?

New research shows that if Britain follows the same trajectory as China then 5,700 people, not 20,000, are expected to die – and the peak with be a week on Sunday. A new paper by Tom Pike, from Imperial College London, compares deaths for confirmed Covid-19 cases in China with eight other countries – all of which have implemented some form of social distancing measures. More

These Charts Help Explain Why The Coronavirus Has Been More Deadly In Certain Countries

Two leading theories of the differences seen so far have to do with the ages of people who are getting infected, and the fact that the US health care system — for all its failings and inefficiencies — has more critical care beds for the seriously ill. But there is no room for complacency: If the number of new cases builds up too quickly, even US intensive care units will be unable to cope. If there are not enough critical care beds to handle the demand, said Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute, a health care think tank in Brookline, Massachusetts, “the best critical care in the world is not going to move the needle.” More

Seniors are being overmedicated, as momentum grows to de-prescribe patients

The Lown Institute, a Brookline nonprofit, called over-prescribing of seniors an epidemic in a report last April. Over the last decade, those 65 and older have been hospitalized for serious drug side effects about 2 million times, the group said. “The bottom line is, they know how to prescribe … They don’t know how to de-prescribe,” said Shannon Brownlee, the Lown Institute’s senior vice president, addressing the issue of having a patient wean off a drug. More

Hunger strike in Newark, quarantine of Bergen guards highlight coronavirus fear in jails

A hunger strike in Newark and word of quarantined corrections officers in Hackensack offered a new source of COVID-19 anxiety on Thursday: whether New Jersey jails can protect the incarcerated amid the outbreak.

Prisons are poorly equipped to handle the disease, said Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute, a health care think tank in Brookline, Massachusetts. And a lack of testing in the U.S. is making it even harder to keep out, he said.

“Once it’s out in the community and transmitting cryptically, you don’t have any real predictability,’’ Saini said.

While most infections won't lead to a severe illness, others will, and "everything we are seeing in the literature is that it can come on relatively quickly," he said. "Prisons are not places that are really equipped to monitor people in terms of their medical status if it were to take a turn for the worse."


New Report Issued By The Lown Institute Highlights The Risks Of Over-Prescribing And Overuse Of Medications, Particularly In Older Adults

Eliminating Medication Overload: A National Action Plan, a report issued by the Lown Institute, is based on input from national experts, and highlights the risks of overprescribing and overuse of medications, particularly in older adults. The report is both a wakeup call and a roadmap that offers policy recommendations and guidance for health care institutions, clinicians, and older adults to reduce harm from multiple medication use. More

Is Dignity a Healthcare Business Strategy?

Sure, hospitals should be paid for the services they provide, but that simple axiom crumbles when one looks closely at the complexity and contradictions built into healthcare, e.g., “… the widespread acceptance at the top of health care organizations that being ‘business-like’ is a virtue…,”says Vikas Saini, MD, the president of the Lown Institute and a Harvard-trained cardiologist. More

The endurance of medication overload: Rethinking the medication review process

Medications can be very useful tools for clinicians to help treat, prevent, and even cure illness, but they can also cause harm, especially when used inappropriately. In a recent report, “Medication Overload: America's Other Drug Problem,” the Lown Institute found that polypharmacy among Americans aged 65 years and older has increased substantially over the past few decades, and with it the rate of adverse drug events More

How to help your child avoid unnecessary medical care

If your child has ever put up a fight when you try to give them medicine, you may have wondered if that antibiotic was really, absolutely necessary. You'd be right to wonder: Many children receive "low-value services" — defined as "health-care interventions that are more expensive and equally or less effective than an alternative, including doing nothing," according to the authors of a recent study in Pediatrics. More