Dr. Rita Redberg: Pioneer of evidence-based medicine

Less is more when it comes to overused medical procedures

Rita Redberg, MD, MS, who paved the way for an emphasis on evidence-based medicine during her tenure as editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine, recently stepped down from that position. Dr. Redberg, a cardiologist at the University of California San Francisco, brought to the prestigious journal a critical evaluation of the necessity of medical procedures and tests, and launched the “Less is More” series in 2010 to highlight overused procedures in which the harms outweigh the benefits.

Elaine Lissner, founder and trustee of the Parsemus Foundation, worked with Dr. Redberg on the Less is More series, and the foundation helped support its inaugural years. This effort opened up the conversation about many health procedures that had questionable benefits, and even serious risks, that were routinely provided to patients. An annual review of overused tests and procedures was created, including items such as angioplasty, lipid monitoring, stents, and vitamin supplements (see our webpage on overused medical procedures for details). Other similar efforts, such as Choosing Wisely, also added information and increased awareness of the issue.

Dr. Rita Redberg
Dr. Rita Redberg initiated the Less is More series (photo credit: JAMA-Internal Medicine)

While we still have work to do to ensure that all patients are provided with healthcare that is needed, effective, and specific to their condition, Dr. Redberg noted that enduring change happens one step at a time. The Parsemus Foundation is proud to have worked with Dr. Redberg and been part of the changes that have taken place to bring the issue of overused medical procedures to light and provide critical information to the public. For more details, watch this interview with Dr. Redberg.

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