It’s time for a social movement in medicine; following up on rightcare in Maine; the RightCare Alliance builds steam.

December 4, 2014

In order to bring you more of the news you want to read, RightCare Weekly summarizes and interprets three important articles and provides headlines linking to the many other articles and editorials you’ll find interesting. As always, RightCare Weekly presents articles related to moving our healthcare system toward the right care for all patients.

Join the conversation: Post your comments in our new section at the bottom of this page.


  • The Lown Institute founded the RightCare Alliance on the belief that it will take a movement to transform American healthcare. Don Berwick, MD, agrees. In his powerful editorial from last week’s JAMA, he places changing healthcare in the context of the great social movements of the last century, calling for “mobilization—not just the intellectual mobilization of clever community projects but also the political mobilization that ended the Vietnam war, began to deliver on civil rights, birthed modern feminism, and started down the long road toward equal rights for the LGBT community.” The changes in healthcare require collective action to challenge the power of the medical-industrial complex, and we sincerely hope that Dr. Berwick’s call marks a turning point in the growth for that movement.


QUESTION: What kind of change do you think is coming in medicine? Is the system ready for change? How do you think patients and communities can work together to make it happen? Let us know what you think in our comments section below. 


  • At the Maine Quality Counts Healthcare Town Hall Meeting on November 6 in Brunswick, clinicians and patients described their experiences with overtreatment.  Maine NPR covered the event in a segment titled When is Medical Treatment Overtreatment? Maine Doctors Take New Look,” which aired last week. Also interviewed was Lown Institute Senior Vice President Shannon Brownlee.





  • It’s not too late to register for the 2015 Lown Institute annual meeting in San Diego, March 8-11. Join us to challenge the culture of overuse in medicine and to advocate for healthcare that delivers the right care, all the time.  If you’re a student, patient advocate or community leader, you have until Sunday, December 7 to apply for a scholarship to the conference.  See our video trailer for highlights from last year’s conference.




Medical errors and patient safety

  1. After High-Profile Death, Medical Errors Still Harm Hundreds Of Thousands – Richard Knox, WBUR
  2. Obama administration announces major decline in medical errors – Noam N. Levey, LA Times
  3. Did Hospital Engagement Networks Actually Improve Care? – Peter Pronovost, MD PhD, and Ashish K. Jha, MD MPH, New England Journal of Medicine
  4. Cancer-Risk Debate Didn’t Halt Surgeries – Jennifer Levitz, Wall Street Journal


Payment system

  1. How Medical Care Is Being Corrupted – Pamela Hartzband and Jerome Groopman, New York Times op-ed
  2. Is Pay for Performance Corrupting Medicine? – Bill Gardner, The Incidental Economist
  3. Financial Incentives in Health Care – James Rickert, New York Times letter to the editor
  4. Group Advising Congress Seeks End Of Medicare’s ‘Two-Midnight’ RuleKaiser Health News



  1. $2.6 Billion to Develop a Drug? New Estimate Makes Questionable Assumptions – Aaron Carroll, The Upshot
  2. Using Doctors With Troubled Pasts to Market a Painkiller – Katie Thomas, New York Times
  3. A new entrant in the battle over drug prices: Hospital systems – Austin Frakt, The Incidental Economist
  4. Targeting drug development – Austin Frakt, The Incidental Economist
  5. ‘Dark money’ goes way beyond elections – Janine R. Wedel, USA Today


Access/costs of care

  1. Why 1 in 3 Americans Is Scared to Go to the Doctor – Kara Brandeisky, Money
  2. When Health Coverage Expansion Means Longer Waits for a Doctor – Austin Frakt, The Upshot
  3. Underinsurance Remains Big Problem Under Obama Health Law – Aaron Carroll, The Upshot
  4. The Hospital CEO as Scrooge – Hired Managers Get Raises While Presiding Over Deficits, Layoffs and Pay Cuts – Roy Poses, MD, Naked Capitalism
  5. Private Oncologists Being Forced Out, Leaving Patients to Face Higher Bills – Gina Kolata, New York Times
  6. That Medical Test Costs $50, or Is It $500? – Sandeep Jauhar, New York Times Well blog


Social determinants of health

  1. Mass Imprisonment and Public HealthNew York Times editorial
  2. School District Pays For Health Care But Can’t Get Itemized Bill – Sammy Mack, NPR
  3. To Attack Health Disparities, States Take a Broader View – Michael Ollove, PEW Charitable Trusts Stateline


Public health

  1. Public Health as Political Prisoner – David Katz, MD, Huffington Post Blog
  2. How Veterinarians Prevent Animals From Spreading Diseases to Humans – Bryan Resnick, The Atlantic
  3. Seniors’ Obesity-Counseling Benefit Goes Largely Unused – Phil Galewitz, Kaiser Health News


Recent updates to Choosing Wisely

  1. American Academy of Nursing
  2. American College of Emergency Physicians


Overtreatment and overdiagnosis

  1. UMMS family doctors say many take blood pressure meds not shown to help – Sandra Gray, UMass Med Now
  2. The Hidden Dangers of Medical
  3. Vitamin D Tests Aren’t Needed For Everyone, Federal Panel Says – Nancy Shute, WBUR


Medical journals

  1. Patient Safety Journal Adjusts After an Eye-Opening Scandal – Marshall Allen, ProPublica
  2. Publishing: The peer-review scam – Cat Ferguson, Adam Marcus, and Ivan Oransky, Nature News


Patient communication

  1. The Two Things That Rarely Happen After a Medical Mistake – Olga Pierce and Marshall Allen, ProPublica
  2. Radiologists Are Reducing the Pain of Uncertainty – Gina Kolata, New York Times
  3. The Patience of Patients – Maria Yang, MD,
  4. Why are more women choosing mastectomies? – Deborah Kotz, Boston Globe


Prostate cancer

  1. It Is Time to Stop Screening for Prostate Cancer – Vinay Prasad, MD, JAMA Internal Medicine
  2. The Problem With Prostate Screening – Richard J. Ablin, New York Times op-ed


Healthcare system

  1. Specialists Find Appeal in Hospitalist Roles – Cheryl Clark, HealthLeaders Media
  2. A look at robotic surgery proliferation in Denmark – Gary Schwitzer, Health News Review


RightCare Weekly is made possible through the generous support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation