The real problem here is not economics or behavioral economics or psychology. It is obesity. Losing weight is insanely hard to do. And keeping weight off is even harder.
Health care organizations, newly focused on population outcomes, can develop and test social interventions for advancing health. Given the increasing evidence that behavior is contagious, there’s good reason to believe that such models could work. You are more likely to smoke if people close to you smoke — and more likely to quit if they quit. Yet most health care interventions are designed for the individual. For some time, doctors have recognized that some patients’ social connections have a beneficial effect on their health. Now, doctors and hospitals can develop new approaches to prescribe social engagement for everyone else.
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.