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

REPORT: Medication Overload

The Lown report Medication Overload: How the Drive to Prescribe is Harming Older Americans (April 2019) examines the growing problem of polypharmacy among the 65+ population. If nothing is done to change current practices, medication overload will lead to the premature deaths of 150,000 older Americans and cost $62 billion in unnecessary hospitalizations over the next decade.

Lown Right Care Series in The Lancet

With the The Lown Right Care Series, published by The Lancet in 2017, the Lown Institute launched a global effort to assess the scope of overuse and underuse and place these twin failings at the center of health strategies everywhere to achieve the right care for all people. The Institute organized a team of 27 international experts from nine countries and 21 institutions. Heralded as “stunning scholarship” by Don Berwick, MD, former administrator of the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Series consists of four papers and three commentaries.

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.

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.