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Getting the Right Care, Every Time

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Right Care Action Week Is October 18-24


Almost 20 years ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) targeted the overuse of health care services as a potential source of patient harm. An IOM consensus paper on health care quality attributed many problems in health care to overuse, underuse, and misuse of services, with overuse defined as “a health care service [that] is provided under circumstances in which its potential for harm exceeds the possible benefit.”


Since then, several efforts have been undertaken to raise awareness of unnecessary care—and the potential harm it affords. For example, the Choosing Wisely campaign, an initiative of the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, was started to promote conversations between patients and their health care providers about whether treatments and tests are truly necessary, not duplicative of other tests or treatments, and supported by evidence.


The Lown Institute, meanwhile, has taken on the issue of overtreatment and undertreatment as a major focus of its work and a priority issue. In a recent Health Affairs piece, the leaders of the institute highlighted how little research has been done into overtreatment in medicine.


Next month, the Lown Institute is leading Right Care Action Week, October 18-24, to raise awareness of the importance of the appropriateness of care for each individual patient.


The Lown Institute encourages organizations to develop programs and activities to fit their local community’s needs. To get involved in this effort, visit the website and commit to take action during that week to help result in better, safer, more appropriate care. For example:

  • Direct patients to the Ask Me 3 video on our website. Asking questions can help patients become more engaged in their care, more knowledgeable about their health conditions, and better able to follow treatment plans.
  • Report a case where overuse or underuse of services presented a safety issue. Currently, few safety reports are related to overuse and the risks of unnecessary care. As you become more aware, think about speaking up to prevent harm.
  • Visit the Right Care Action Week website to find out what others are doing or to share your own ideas.

NPSF is encouraging members of our community mark the week by taking action to help ensure the right care for everyone. We hope you’ll take part. 


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Tags:  overtreatment  undertreatment 

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