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Behavioral Economics, Patient Engagement and Thought leadership in the press



Thu Jun 14, 2018

CHIBE Combats the Opioid Crisis, One ‘Nudge’ at a Time

Given the urgency of the opioid epidemic, the latest round of connected health pilot programs run by CHIBE in conjunction with Penn’s Clinical and Translational Research Award (CTSA) – which is based at Penn’s Institute for Translational Medicine and Therapeutics (ITMAT) – prioritized pilot projects focused on reducing harm from opioids. As Dr. Kevin Volpp noted, “If the ideas we test are sufficiently bold, some will likely be unsuccessful, but that’s okay if across projects we make progress.”

Thu Jun 14, 2018

Cash and a fitness device could help motivate people to exercise, study finds

A new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association said the trackers — when paired with a little cold, hard cash — might just give people that push to start a regular exercise routine.

“Framing rewards as a loss — a technique from behavioral economics — led to a meaningful difference in behavior,” said Dr. Mitesh Patel, an assistant professor of medicine and health care management, and director of the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit. “During the six-month trial, the average patient in the intervention arm had step counts that totaled about 100 miles more than the average patient in control.”

Tue May 29, 2018

Quitting smoking is incredibly hard. Penn researchers find one thing that helps most

Summary of NEJM article re smoking cessation. The new Penn study enrolled more than 6,000 people from 54 U.S.-based companies. Offering free pharmacological therapy or ecigs did not increase tobacco cessation; financial incentives tripled rates of cessation. Study was run on Way To Health

Wed May 23, 2018

E-cigarettes disappoint in a workplace quit-smoking study

In a large study of company wellness programs (The Vitality Smoking Cessation Program run on Way To Health) released on Wednesday, May 23, 2018, e-cigarettes worked no better than traditional stop-smoking tools, and the only thing that really helped was paying folks to kick the habit.

Tue May 1, 2018

OARSI Keynote: Understanding human behavior improves patient outcomes

David Asch, MD gave a keynote address at the Osteoarthritis Research Society International World Congress (OARSI) about how understanding the incentives that drive human behavior may be useful in helping patients with osteoarthritis improve health-related habits. “Once you accept that people are irrational, it gives you better opportunities to help them”.

Wed Mar 21, 2018

How to put behavioral economics to work for more effective patient engagement

“Fitbits and pedometers don’t make you walk more,” said Asch. “Weight loss apps don’t make you lose weight. They’re just facilitators. Unless they’re paired with some insight into human behavior, they’re the sound of one hand clapping.”

Thu Mar 8, 2018

Taking steps to improve activity-tracking results

People don’t use activity trackers as much as prior surveys indicate. Incenting people to do the right thing has always been a challenge. David Asch and Mitesh Patel discuss ways in which personalization, behavioral economics and gamification can perhaps be used to nudge individuals to pay more attention to their health.

Wed Mar 7, 2018

Innovation is much more than just using new tech

David Asch, MD keynoted the HIMSS ‘19 Digital and Personal Connected Health Conference. Key quotes included - “Innovation is like research. It’s hypothesis-driven, it’s falsifiable and it’s highly disciplined.” “Often we are solving for the wrong problem, and if we solved for the right problem we might be in a better position to address our customers’ needs”.

Wed Feb 21, 2018

How Trump’s behind-the-scenes cuts to Medicare spending will hurt health care

Medicare spending accounted for 15% of federal spending in 2016. It is projected to reach 17.5% of federal spending by 2027. If we are to slow the rate of growth in Medicare spending over the longer term, it will likely require some unpopular limits on beneficiary access, convenience, and generosity of coverage.

Wed Jan 31, 2018

Want To Prevent Heart Attacks? Perhaps Don't Try This Behavioral Economics Intervention

Highlights the importance of also sharing the losses along with the wins - “In large part, I am happy because it got published in a leading medical journal: JAMA Internal Medicine. Kudos to the editors for publishing a “failed” trial. Trust me, there’s no failure in doing good science. The real failure would have been to allow this important study to go unpublished because the intervention didn’t work”.