Unnecessary medical care

Unnecessary medical care


The Problem

Whether you call it unnecessary medical care, avoidable care, overuse, low-value care, or something else – it’s a problem. Between 10% and 30% of all health care spending goes towards treatments, drugs, tests, or surgeries that patients do not need. The Lown Institute was founded in 2012 out of the need to address the harm and waste caused by unnecessary medicine, and since then, the Institute has been a leading voice in the “Less is More” movement by facilitating research, programs, and resources on this issue.

Our Research

The Lancet Right Care Series

The Right Care Series, commissioned by The Lancet in 2013, are the first effort to assess the global scope of overuse and underuse, and to put these twin failings of health care systems at the center of global health strategies.

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Polypharmacy Project

Polypharmacy, or the prescribing of multiple potentially inappropriate medications to patients with multiple chronic illnesses, particularly the frail elderly, has been recognized as an increasing problem worldwide. The Lown Institute is conducting research and convening a working group of experts to create a framing paper and an action plan, as a first step towards a national strategy for addressing polypharmacy. 

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Physician survey on overuse

Lown Institute leaders Vikas Saini and Shannon Brownlee were advisors and co-authors of the first nation-wide survey to ask doctors in a range of specialties about overtreatment.

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Our Programs

Right Care Educators

Right Care Educators is an annual program that provides chief residents with training and support to help them become leaders for appropriate care at their institution. 

Vignette Competition

The Lown Institute Vignette Competition provides students and trainees with a chance to share their stories on everyday overuse and underuse – common practices that either give patients unnecessary tests and procedures, or that fail to give patients necessary care.

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Overuse 101 – Have questions about unnecessary medical care? We’ve got answers on our “Overuse 101” page.

Published articles – Learn more about unnecessary medical care from this selection of research on overuse from the past decade

Lown Picks – Here are our “Lown Picks” – books, movies, blogs, and more on unnecessary medical care