Overtreatment makes the New Yorker, increasing diversity in med school, and take our reader survey!

May 7th, 2015

May 7, 2015

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.



  • In his most recent New Yorker article, Atul Gawande, MD, MPH, narrates the stories of the many patients who receive tests, medications and surgeries that don’t make them better, cause harm and cost billions. Among the evidence he cites is a study co-authored by Lown Institute Fellow Adam Elshaug, PhD, MPH that shows some 25 to 42 percent of Medicare patients having received at least one of 26 useless tests and treatments. Vikas Saini, MD, president of the Lown Institute, said, “Gawande’s columns are often influential in the national conversation about health. We are delighted that he has brought the huge problem of medical overuse in this country to such a large audience. Now we need to mobilize people toward action. That’s why it’s so important for all of us in the RightCare Alliance to continue our work to assure that everyone receives the care they need and not more.”


  • Calling attention to the good, the inaccurate, and the just plain bad health news reporting is what Gary Schwitzer and his Health News Review (HNR) website do extremely well. For years, Schwitzer and his team have been reviewing news media stories relating to health and medicine and grading them publicly for truthfulness. The goal, says his site, “[is] to improve the public dialogue about health care by helping consumers critically analyze claims about health care interventions.” A lot of what passes as news, says Schwitzer, is hype, much of which is lifted from overblown institutional news releases. “It’s not just the classic cases of fabrication and fraud that have taken place through the years in major news organizations, but good people doing shoddy journalism,” he says. To date, Schwitzer and a team of medical experts have reviewed 2,000 stories, only a third of which have received favorable ratings. Learn more about Schwitzer, his background and this vitally important work, featured on last week’s Minnpost.


  • Last week Sarah Luckett-Gatopolous, MD, an emergency medicine resident in Canada, shared her story of growing up poor in an unstable family environment and without consistent social support. Her powerful story highlights the importance of having physicians who come not only from varying racial, ethnic, and regional backgrounds, but also from all economic backgrounds and life experiences. Doctors need to be able to communicate with a wide variety of patients, empathize with the challenges they face in life, and understand how social circumstances can form barriers to making what might seem like very simple and obvious health choices. But teaching empathy and communication skills to trainees remains a challenge.




  • As RightCare Weekly approaches its first anniversary, we’re asking our readers to let us know how we’re doing. We also have a couple questions about the 2016 Lown Conference. Complete our short survey below by Wednesday, May 13, and we’ll enter your name in a drawing that will land one lucky person a $50 Amazon gift card.


  • Save the Date: Tuesday, June 2, 12-1 pm ET  Join us for our second webinar to learn about implementing a RightCare Rounds at your institution. Our presenters are David Bor, MD; Brandon Combs, MD, FACP and Hyung (Harry) Cho, MD.  Learn more and register.


  • Did you miss our Do No Harm webinar on April 16? If so, you can view it here.


  • Congratulations to Shannon Brownlee, our senior vice president, and one of four individuals who were inducted this week, into the ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame. ARCS stands for Achievement Rewards for College Scientists. The Hall of Fame honors ARCS Scholar Alumni who have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of science and to increasing our nation’s scientific competitiveness.


  • PharmedOut’s CME conference, The Real Risks of Rx Drugs, will be held June 11-12 at Georgetown University, Washington, DC. For information, see here.


  • The Preventing Overdiagnosis Conference, administered by the University of Oxford, will take place September 1-3 in Bethesda, MD. Learn more and register.


  • Congratulations to Sashank Prasad, MD, a neurologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, who will be awarded the Bernard Lown Award for Excellence in Teaching next week at Harvard Medical School. The award, named after our founder, was established to recognize physicians who are outstanding clinical leaders and recognize the significant role that education plays in the hospital’s mission.




Health system transformation


Over-criminalization and mental health


Quality of care


Care coordination




Payment system


Public health


Emergency care




Patient safety


Long-term care


Patient communication


Medical ethics




Health reporting




Medical education






Primary care


Medical evidence


Hospital care


Patient advocacy


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