“Cosmetic psychopharmacology,” a big hit for the NNT, and our first regional conference: RightCare Weekly

October 16, 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.



  • This past weekend the Lown Institute successfully launched its first regional conference at the University of Colorado Medical School, organized by Do No Harm Project co-founder and Lown Institute Fellow Brandon Combs, MD. With more than 50 attendees and many presenters, the conversation was all about RightCare. We look forward to working with the numerous leaders who emerged from this conference, to begin to change the culture of medicine in Colorado and nationwide. If you missed the meeting, check out our Storify of what the conference looked like on social media.


  • Lown Institute Advisory Council member David Newman, MD, was interviewed for Wired about the web site he f​ounded, ​, which gives clinicians and patients information to help them make decisions based on evidence, not biases, habits, or tradition. Newman and dozens of site contributors have analyzed available studies for a variety of tests and treatments, crunched the numbers on benefits and harms, and then posted the results, including numbers needed to treat. We’ve written about the NNT before. It’s the number of people who need to use a test or treatment in order for one of them to get the benefit. Lown Institute President​ ​Vikas Saini, MD, is quoted in the piece. Article author Andrew Hetherington speculates, “If the NNT were included with every published article about a treatment, the result would be happier, healthier patients and less waste in our healthcare system.”



  • Road to RightCare: Early bird registration closes in two weeks! October 31 is the last day to save $150 on registration for the 2015 Lown Conference, March 8 – 11 in San Diego. If you’re curious about what the conference will be like, check out these video highlights from last year’s conference!



  • The Best Care Possible: The Right Care at the Right Time in the Right Way: This conference, co-hosted by the Family Medicine Education Consortium and the Lown Institute, is bringing together leaders in healthcare from the DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia area next Thursday, October 23 from 8:30 am – 4:00 pm at the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA.  Registration and information about the conference are here. On-site registration is available.


  • The Dartmouth Center for Health Policy & Clinical Practice is conducting a national study with individuals who have been treated for depression and clinicians who treat patients with depression.  The goal of the project is to identify ways to better engage individuals with depression in their care, in an effort to reduce unnecessary treatment. To learn more and to participate in the study, take the clinician survey.




Healthcare delivery system

  1. How Medicine Became a Growth Business – Clifton Meador, MD, Health Beat
  2. Is direct primary care part of the solution or part of the problem? – Carolyn Long Engelhard, The Hill
  3. The Case Against Drugstore Clinics – Richard Gunderman, The Atlantic


Conflict of interest

  1. Dollars for Dudes: Almost No Women Among Medical Industry’s Top-Paid Speakers, Consultants – Charles Ornstein, ProPublica
  2. Who loves Tamiflu? – Ryan Radecki, Emergency Medicine Literature of Note
  3. Doctors’ pay for unapproved prostate cancer device raises ethical questions – Stephanie M. Lee and Greta Kaul, SF Gate


Patient communication

  1. Evidence-based medicine does not mean everyone is treated the same – Bill Gardner, The Incidental Economist
  2. Rethinking the Social History – Heidi Behforouz, Paul Drain, and Joseph Rhatigan, New England Journal of Medicine
  3. Variation in patients’ perceptions of elective percutaneous coronary intervention in stable coronary artery disease: cross sectional study – Faraz Kureshi, et al., BMJ
  4. Project Louise: What To Do About Cholesterol? – Louise Kennedy, WBUR’s Commonhealth blog (features Lown Institute President Vikas Saini, MD)



  1. Actually, you CAN be too careful when it comes to Ebola – Aaron Carroll, The Incidental Economist
  2. Questions Rise on Preparations at Hospitals to Deal With Ebola – Denise Grady, New York Times
  3. Presbyterian workers wore no hazmat suits for two days while treating Ebola patient – Dianna Hunt, Dallas Morning News Scoop blog


Payment system

  1. Got Insurance? You Still May Pay A Steep Price For Prescriptions – Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News
  2. How family planning programs save taxpayers billions of dollars each year – Jason Millman, Washington Post Wonkblog
  3. Many Medicare Outpatients Pay More At Rural Hospitals, Federal Report Says – Jordan Rau, Kaiser Health News



  1. Overdiagnosis: How Our Compulsion for Diagnosis May Be Harming Children – Eric Coon, Ricardo Quinonez, Virginia Moyer, and Alan Schroeder, Pediatrics
  2. Medicare Reimbursement For Lung Cancer Screening Provokes Debate – Larry Husten, Forbes


End-of-life care

  1. JUST RELEASED: Meeting the Needs of Older Adults with Serious Illness – Amy Kelley and Diane Meier, eds.
  2. Chain to Pay $38 Million Over Claims of Poor Care – Katie Thomas, New York Times



  1. Am I Sick? Google Has a Doctor Waiting on Video – Conor Dougherty, New York Times Bits blog
  2. Insurers: Medical devices need to prove their worth – Robert Weisman, Boston Globe



  1. Placebos Help. Just Ask This Health Economist. – Austin Frakt, The Upshot
  2. An Independent Physician? Freedom Isn’t Free – Melissa Walton-Shirley, Medscape


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