But there aren’t a lot of fitness trackers infused with legitimate behavioral science, says Patel. While plenty of apps use gamification strategies, those strategies tend to be ill-conceived, based on standard economics and the idea that people are rational. “They think about all the different possibilities, and ‘How much will this cake or this gym workout add to my overall life,’ and then make a decision,” Patel says. “But we know people don’t do that.”
Analyzing behavioral economics and psychology are key to engaging patients to make meaningful changes
“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.”
Opportunities for effective nudges abound in health care because choice architectures guide our behavior whether we know it or not. As more health care decisions are made within digital environments where they can be witnessed and their context can easily be reshaped, nudging opportunities expand. It doesn’t take much investment to support such expertise, and given the value of its applications, most health systems would be well served by insourcing it. We owe it to our patients to do the same for health care.
Anti-smoking advocates need to disseminate advice about effective behavior change strategies and encourage health plan benefit designs that invest in preventing disease, as opposed to simply treating the health consequences of smoking.
A vision for the future casts the visit to the primary care doctor not as the solution but as a kind of failure—an inability to accommodate patient needs by any of the less-expensive levels of support.
Programs to improve health for employees focus on common-sense approaches such as quitting smoking and maintaining a healthy weight.
The Maryland Health Care Commission, the state’s independent regulatory agency, is unveiling a website on which people scheduling a hip replacement, knee replacement, hysterectomy or vaginal delivery can see price differences among different providers for the same procedure.
A team at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine is harnessing the convenience of smartphones, wireless blood pressure monitoring technology, and electronic health records (EHRs) to more closely monitor the blood pressure of post-partum patients after they go home from the hospital.
Smoking, savings, honesty, and healthy eating may not be items on your list of problems to address or areas where you’d like to see improvements in your own behavior or the actions of people you manage or lead. But no matter what concerns you, adopting a nudge, as Thaler and the many scholars who followed his approach to research tell us, may lead to a powerful change for the better. It just requires an acknowledgment that human behavior is full of anomalies.
The family that plays an online game together may get more exercise together, a new study suggests. But more research needed because study participants were all white, and wealthier than most Americans