Author of Overtreated
Dr. Jerome Groopman
Shannon Brownlee appears as an expert in the critically acclaimed 2012 documentary, Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Health Care. She is the recipient of The National Association of Science Writers' Science-in-Society Award, and the Association of Health Care Journalists' Award for Excellence. As a Schwartz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, a non-partisan think tank, she gives talks to the general public and government agencies on health care policy and the pharmaceutical industry. She is also Senior Vice President at The Lown Institute. She previously served as the acting director of the New America Foundation Health Policy Program in Washington, DC.
Brownlee has appeard in a BMJ film about the harms of overtreatment, and a 55-minute PBS doc, entitled Money & Medicine.
Overtreated: The Broken Economics of U.S. Health Care
Why does our health care system rank in the bottom third of developed nations even though we spend twice as much as any other country?
In this talk, Shannon Brownlee uncovers a healthcare system that wastes a staggering amount on costly treatments that do little to improve our health and which may actually be dangerous. Well-insured Americans get more high-tech treatment than they need, enriching the doctors, the hospitals and the medical companies who provide it--but driving up health care costs for everyone else. What can be done to turn this around? Brownlee outlines practical ways to control costs, improve quality of care, increase hospital efficiency, and strive toward coverage for all.
Though touted as perhaps the best in the world, the American medical system is filled with hypocrisies. Our health care is staggeringly expensive, yet one in six Americans has no health insurance. We have some of the most skilled physicians in the world, yet one hundred thousand patients die each year from medical errors. In this gripping, eye-opening book, award-winning journalist Shannon Brownlee takes readers inside the hospital to dismantle some of our most venerated myths about American medicine. Using vivid examples of real patients and physicians, Overtreated debunks the idea that most of medicine is based in sound science, and shows how our health care system delivers huge amounts of unnecessary care that is not only expensive and wasteful but can actually imperil the health of patients.
The interests of politicians and the medical-industrial complex continually trump those of patients, seducing the wealthy with unnecessary procedures and leaving the poor with haphazard access to treatment. Backward economic incentives allow patients with chronic conditions to receive ineffective care, and roll after roll of red tape undermines even the best-intentioned doctors. Tens of thousands of patients die each year from overtreatment. American medicine is in desperate need of fixing.
Nevertheless, Overtreated ultimately conveys a message of hope by reframing the debate over health care reform. Americans worry about rationing--that any effort to rein in the high cost of health care will result in limited access to life-saving treatments. Covering the uninsured seems like an insurmountable problem because it will drive up costs even more. Overtreated offers a way to control costs and cover the uninsured, while simultaneously improving the quality of American medicine. Shannon Brownlee's humane, intelligent, and penetrating analysis empowers readers to avoid the perils of overtreatment, as well as pointing the way to better health care for everyone.