Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics News Archive

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Kevin Volpp Featured as Keynote Speaker in GHDonline Video Interview about Designing Provider Incentives

Source: GHDonline, December 7, 2015

As part of the GHDonline's Breakthrough Opportunities Event Series, Kevin Volpp was featured as the first Keynote Speaker in a video interview about designing provider incentives. In the video, Kevin shares his latest work on how lessons from behavioral economics and psychology can be leveraged to develop design principles for financial and nonfinancial provider incentives.

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Jalpa Doshi Wins Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation Challenge

Source: Patient Access Network, January 29, 2016

Jalpa Doshi, Pengxiang (Alex) Li, and colleagues have been announced as the first-place winners in the “PAN Challenge: Balancing Moral Hazard, Affordability and Access to Critical Therapies in the Age of Cost Sharing” launched by the Patient Access Network (PAN) Foundation in collaboration with the American Journal of Managed Care (AJMC). The competition called for papers addressing how federal cost sharing policies affect the ability of individuals with chronic and rare diseases to have affordable access to critical therapies and what policy solutions are likely to improve access.

Their paper titled “High Cost Sharing and Specialty Drug Initiation under Medicare Part D: A Case Study in Newly Diagnosed Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Patients “ won the first prize of $10,000.  More importantly, the paper will be published in a special AJMC supplement and presented at a Cost Sharing Roundtable convened at the Kaiser Family Foundation Barbara Jordan Conference Center in Washington D.C. next month. 

Tags: Jalpa Doshi

SUMR Scholar Alum Named to Forbes "30 Under 30"

Source: Forbes, January 19, 2016

An alumni of Leonard Davis Institute's Summer Undergraduate Minority Research (SUMR) Program, Aaron Schwartz, was named to Forbes "30 Under 30" list. Aaron is a graduate of Swarthmore College and is now a medical student at Harvard. His research focuses on algorithms to determine how much is being spent on medical services that don't make patients much healthier. His work has been published in Health Affairs, JAMA Internal Medicine, and the New England Journal of Medicine.


Insurer Rewards Push Women Toward Mammograms

Sources: The New York Times, January 18, 2016

A New York Times Op-Ed column authored by Harald Schmidt, PhD, discusses the practice of employers and health plans incentivizing women to get mammograms. Since the pros and cons of getting a mammogram can be complicated, depending on age and risk profiles, he suggests that employers and health plans should instead offer incentives that reward the use of online decision aids which are based on the best available scientific evidence. In short, he writes "Don’t pay women to get mammograms — pay them to use a tool to decide whether they should get mammograms."


Warning Labels May Deter Parents From Purchasing Sugar-sweetened Beverages for Kids

Sources: CBS NewsUS News & World Report, TIME, Fox News, Philly.com, Penn Medicine NewsHealthDayMedical News TodayWebMD, Medical Daily, Doctors Lounge, Medical Xpress, Capital Wired, NewsMaxInternational Business Times, January 14, 2016

An article published in Pediatrics by lead author Christina Roberto, PhD, found that warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages may deter parents from purchasing them. Roberto commented that "Some states have introduced bills requiring SSBs to display health warning labels, but to date, there is little data to suggest how labels might influence purchasing habits, or which labels may be the most impactful." She notes that their findings are similar to those from studies that examined the effects of tobacco warning labels, which have been shown to encourage smoking cessation.


Behavioral Economics Offers Suggestions for Using Wearables

Source: The Washington Post, January 14, 2016

The Washington Post published a write-up of Mitesh Patel and colleagues' past work on wearable technologies. While a lot of people are interested in the potential for wearables to transform health behaviors, there hasn't been much evidence yet that these devices do that, says Patel. There is also little understanding of how the health community can get wearables into the hands of the patients who need them most. Patel also offered some guidelines for how people or organizations can best use activity trackers.

Tags: Mitesh Patel

Study Finds Premium-Based Financial Incentives Did Not Promote Workplace Weight Loss

Sources: Penn Medicine News, US News & World Report, Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR, NPR BlogChicago Tribune, Kaiser Health News, WebMD, HealthDayMedical Xpress, WDAM, Metro, Human Resource Executive, PhillyVoice,  Health Affairs Podcast, January 6, 2016

A study led by Dr. Mitesh Patel, published in Health Affairs, revealed that three different types of incentive programs using either health insurance premium adjustments or lottery-based financial incentives were ineffective for promoting weight loss in a randomized trial using weight scales in the workplace. Authors note that the apparent failure of the incentives to promote weight loss suggests that employers encouraging weight reduction and other healthy lifestyle choices through workplace wellness programs should test incentive designs different from the typical premium-based financial incentives. 

Tags: Mitesh Patel

"Wearable Devices as Facilitators of Health Behavior Change" Among Top 5 JAMA Articles of 2015

Source: Center for Health Care Innovation,  December 30, 2015

"Wearable Devices as Facilitators, Not Drivers, of Health Behavior Change," an article written by Mitesh Patel, David Asch and Kevin Volpp was named one of the top five most popular articles of 2015 by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). According to Altmetric, the article was viewed more than 40,000 times, covered by 15 news outlets, tweeted about by 992 Twitter users and mentioned on 58 Facebook pages.


Kevin Volpp to lead NEJM catalyst theme, “Patient Engagement: Behavioral Strategies for Better Health"

Source: New England Journal of Medicine, December 17, 2015

NEJM Group announced the launch of NEJM Catalyst, an online resource that offers a combination of multimedia content, web events, expert panels, and new research. NEJM Catalyst articles, case studies, video talks and events are organized around key themes impacting health care today. Kevin Volpp will lead the NEJM catalyst theme, “Patient Engagement: Behavioral Strategies for Better Health" on February 25th, 2016.

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Heather Schofield Featured in NPR Story Examining the Economic Consequences of Poor Sleep in India

Source: NPR, December 2, 2015

Heather Schofield's research was recently featured in a NPR story entitled "A Bad Night's Sleep Might Do More Harm Than You Think." In the story, Heather discusses the real-world impact that chronic sleep deprivation could have on how people make decisions


New York Times Article on Wearable Devices Highlights JAMA Op-Ed Piece by Mitesh Patel

Source: The New York Times, November 16, 2015 

A New York Times Article entitled "Assessing the Fitness of Wearable Tech" highlighted an opinion piece featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association written by Mitesh Patel along with David Asch and Kevin Volpp.   


Effect of Financial Incentives on Lipid Levels

Sources: JAMAThe Philadelphia Inquirer, CBS News, US News & World ReportHealthDay, Newsworks, MedPage Today, LDI, AJMC, UK News, Endocrinology Advisor, Food World News, Daily Mail, Yahoo Finance, Health Medicine Network, American Pharmacists' Association, Entertainmentwise, Health Insurance & Protection Daily, November 12, 2015.

A recent study led by Dr. David Asch and Dr. Kevin Volpp, published in JAMA, found that providing financial incentives to both primary care physicians and patients leads to a greater reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in patients than paying only the physician or only the patient. This was the first study to test physician-only and patient-only incentives compared to incentives shared by patients and physicians. The study used the Way to Health Platform to enroll 340 physicians and 1,503 patients.


8th annual Penn-CMU Roybal Center Retreat

Source: LDI E-Magazine, October 22. 2015

The Penn-CMU Roybal Center Retreat brings together academic experts from Penn's LDI Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE) in Philadelphia, and Carnegie Mellon University's Center for Behavioral Decision Research (CBDR). This year, the retreat featured an array of events including several faculty presentations, CHIBE "Mad Libs" and a team-building scavenger hunt.


HealthCare.gov to Offer More Tools to Help Consumers

Source: Penn LDI October 9, 2015

A study led by Charlene Wong on young adults' experiences on HealthCare.gov recommended several tools that are now being implemented into the upgraded website. New tools include an out-of pocket total cost estimator, tools that allow consumers to see if their preferred providers or hospitals are in-network across all plans, and an improved window-shopping experience, which allows consumers to see what’s available to them before creating an account.


White House Executive Order Mandates the Incorporation of Behavioral Economic Principals into Daily Government Operations

Source:  LDI E-Magazine, September 29, 2015

Kevin Volpp's research was cited in the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team (SBST) 2015 Annual Report that led to an executive order, signed by President Obama, mandating the incorporation of behavioral economic principals into daily government operations. Kevin Volpp attended the White House ceremony to mark the signing of the order by President Obama.

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Recent Washington Post Article Highlights HeartStrong Study

Source: The Washington Post, September 5, 2015

A recent Washington Post article, featuring David Asch, highlighted CHIBE's HeartStrong Study. The study, funded by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare, is currently testing new ways to motivate medication adherence - including greater involvement from friends and family in supporting adherence and the possibility to win daily financials incentives when successfully adhering to prescribed medication regiments.


The Economics of Sleep, Part 2

Source: Freakonomics.com, July 16, 2015

Listen to new Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy faculty member, Heather Schofield, discuss the economics of sleep with Stephen J. Dubner in the latest installment of Freakonomics Radio.

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Why Doctors Still Perform Unnecessary Medical Tests

Source: US News & World Report, May 27, 2015

A recent Health Affairs article, authored by David Asch and Peter Ubel, offers psychological explanations for why it is difficult for clinicians to "'de-innovate,' or give up old practices, even when new evidence reveals that those practices offer little value." To overcome the resistance to de-innovation, Asch and Ubel recommended that the task force's guideline development committees be made up of medical experts from a wide variety of domains with different clinical expertise so that they can cancel out each other's conformation bias.

Tags: David Asch

Kevin Volpp Awarded Matila White Riley Award and Lecture in Behavioral and Social Sciences

Source: NIH Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research, May 31, 2015

Kevin Volpp's work has earned him the 2015 Matilda White Riley Award, issued by the National Institutes of Health Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research (OBSSR). The Matilda White Riley Award is given in recognition of an outstanding behavioral or social scientist whose research has contributed to both the deepening of knowledge and its application in a manner that furthers NIH’s mission of improving health. The 8th Matilda White Riley Award and Lecture will take place June 23, 2015, as part of the celebrations of the 20th Anniversary of OBSSR.

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Randomized Trial of Four Financial-Incentive Programs for Smoking Cessation

Sources: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Reuters, NBC News, CBS News, Fox NewsThe Guardian, Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Huffington Post, US News & World Report, Business StandardNPR, ABC, Tech Times, Yahoo Finance, The Business JournalsKnowledge@WhartonLDI Health Economist, May 13, 2015

A study led by Scott Halpern, recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine, compared five smoking cessation techniques in 2,538 employees of CVS, along with their friends and relatives. The study found that many more people signed up to a program that offered them an $800 reward than one that threatened them with losing a $150 deposit and only offered a $650 reward. However, those in the penalty program were twice as likely to quit.

"We found that those programs that first required people to deposit $150 of their own money were less acceptable to people than programs that were pure rewards," Halpern said.

"However, among those who would have accepted either program, the deposit-based programs were twice as effective as the rewards-based programs and five times more effective than the standard of care which was provision of free access to behavior modification therapy and nicotine replacement therapy."         

Cass Sunstein, director of The Program on Behavioral Economics and Public Policy at Harvard Law School, compared the penalty program to taxes in an editorial for the New England Journal of Medicine. 

Based on the results, "CVS Health is rolling out a campaign called '700 Good Reasons,'" Halpern said. "Instead of requiring a $150 deposit, it will require a $50 up-front deposit. If people are abstinent at 6 and 12 months, they'll not only get their $50 back but get an additional $700. Because they'll still have some skin in the game, it should be fairly effective."