CHIBE News Archive

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Innovation in Medical Education

Sources:  Penn Medicine News, WHYY Newsworks, July 30,  2014

Coinciding with the IOM's report on the governance and financing of medical education, David Asch proposes recommendations for the future of medical education in a Perspective piece in the New England Journal of Medicine. The recommendations include defining better measures of training success, testing fundamental changes to the structure and content of medical education and testing new approaches for financing medical education.

Tags: David Asch

Living Kidney Donation Does Not Increase Risk of Death or Heart Disease for Older Adult Donors

Source: Penn Medicine News, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 9, 2014

A study conducted by Peter Reese and colleagues recently found that kidney donors 55 and older had similar life expectancy and cardiovascular health as very healthy older people who did not donate their kidneys. “Our results provide valuable new data that can be used by transplant centers and physicians, and may well affect the decision-making for older patients considering donation,” says Reese.

Tags: Peter Reese

Do Monetary Incentives Alone Change Behavior?

 Source: The Toronto Star, June 29, 2014

In a recent interview with the Toronto Star about whether incentives work to change health habits, Kevin Volpp discussed how people have a tendency of not wanting to attribute change to an incentive because they want to feel good about themselves. He also offers that "monetary incentives shouldn’t be used to change behaviour without a deeper shift in the culture of a company or a society toward living healthier or volunteering."

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Changing Roles of Physicians With MBA's

Source: Penn Medicine News, June 26, 2014

A recent study conducted by David Asch, Mitesh Patel and colleagues found that physician graduates from the MBA program in heath care management at Penn’s Wharton School report that their dual training had a positive effect on their individual careers and professional lives. Lead author Mitesh Patel commented that “Our findings may have significant implications for current and future physician-managers as the landscape of health care continues to change.” 

HeartStrong Study Featured in Wall Street Journal

Source: The Wall Street Journal, June 8, 2014

A recent Wall Street Journal article features CHIBE's HeartStrong Study, funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. The study is currently testing new ways to motivate people to take their medicine more consistently—including greater involvement of friends and family and the possibility, every day, for those who take their pills to win a small cash prize. Shivan Mehta, director of operations at the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation, notes that people with active support networks tend to do better, with fewer hospitalizations and possibly lower mortality rates.

Karen Glanz and Kevin Volpp to Direct New Prevention Research Center

A five-year, $ 4,350,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has established a Prevention Research Center (PRC) to be directed by Karen Glanz and Kevin Volpp. The PRC will strengthen public and private sector community partnerships; improve understanding of how behavioral economics and public health strategies can reduce health risks and improve health in social-environmental contexts; and extend collaborative training, education, and communication in high-risk and underserved populations in Southeastern Pennsylvania

"Insourcing" Innovation to Transform Health Care

Source: Penn Medicine News, May 8, 2014

 In a Perspective piece published in the May 8 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, David Asch, Christian Terwiesch, Kevin Mahoney and Roy Rosin discuss the concept of "insourcing" and suggest a four-stage design process which, when adopted internally, may help organizations implement more efficient health care delivery solutions. 

Biases Found In Faculty Mentoring

Sources: New York TimesNPR, Scientific American, Washington Post,, Inside Higher Ed,, The Wire, LDI News, April 29, 2014

A recent study conducted by Wharton Assistant Professor Katherine Milkman found that academic departments linked to more lucrative professions are more likely to discriminate against women and minorities than faculty in fields linked to less lucrative jobs. Milkman noted that " business academia, we see a 25 percentage point gap in the response rate to Caucasian males vs. women and minorities."

Progress Report for Applying Behavioral Economics to Perplexing Problems in Health and Health Care

Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, April 22, 2014

The RWJF funded "Applying Behavioral Economics to Perplexing Problems in Health and Health Care" Initiative, administered by CHIBE, funded a series of grants to drastically improve the delivery of health care and the promotion of health. The program received almost 600 applications for the first and second round and ultimately funded 14 grants in total. Results from the first round have been encouraging, notes Kevin Volpp. "Clearly behavioral economics approaches have a lot of potential to contribute to health care,” he said. “At the same time it’s also true that there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to figure out how those approaches can optimally contribute to health care and why some approaches that may be conceptually appealing are not successful, or only modestly successful, when deployed in field settings.”

NEJM Perspective Roundtable: Avoiding Low-Value Care

Source: New England Journal of Medicine, April 3, 2014

Scott Halpern joins Carrie Colla of Dartmouth and Bruce Landon of Harvard in a NEJM Perspective Roundtable moderated by Harvard's Atul Gawande to address the problem of low-value care and discuss how physicians can work with patients to make appropriate choices regarding "low-value" interventions.

The Rising Use of Incentives For Healthy Behavior in the US

Source: British Medical Journal, April 2, 2014

In a feature article in BMJ, Kevin Volpp says there is "increased interest in both public and private sectors in using incentives to increase healthy behaviours”  and reveals the key components of a successful financial incentive scheme: "simplicity, saliency, and relatively immediate feedback.” The article also cites research conduced by Volpp and colleagues that showed a significant rise in participation in health risk assessments when financial incentives in the form of a lottery were offered.

Kevin Volpp at AIA's "National Forum: Incentivising a Healthier Australia"

Sources: Radio National, The Conversation, Financial Standard, New Zealand Herald, March 6, 2014

Kevin Volpp visited Australia to give the keynote at an event hosted by AIA Australia entitled "National Forum: Incentivising a Healthier Australia." He reviewed various health incentive research projects in the U.S. and the UK, including his own, that have offered cash rewards in return for healthier behaviors. He was also invited on Australia's Radio National News show to discuss how incentives can encourage healthier behaviors and combat Australia's rising obesity rates. 

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Gamifying Workplace Wellness Programs

Source: NPR KERA News, March 5, 2014

Harald Schmidt spoke with NPR Dallas about cost savings for workplace wellness programs. Even though a number of studies show little cost savings for prevention, employers are still searching for the right incentives. Harald notes that gamified corporate wellness programs that use rewards could be effective but he warns that we don't want to make people dependent on these financial winnings, rather, we want them to develop healthy habits that will be in their own and their employer's best interest.

Benefits of Paying People to Get Healthy

Source: The Conversation UK, March 5, 2014

In response to the Australian government's recently expressed concern over the country's growing health budget, the Australian outlet published a contributed article by Kevin Volpp, which discusses the benefits of offering financial incentives for people to either get well or avoid becoming unwell in the first place.

Tags: Kevin Volpp

What Works to Get People to Quit Smoking?

Source: WHYY RadioTimes, February 27, 2014

Kevin Volpp was a guest on WHYY RadioTime's "smoking trends, policies and prevention" radio spot along with Joseph Cappella from Annenberg School of Communication. The two discussed the impact of smoking hiring bans on communities, how smoking cessation programs can be made more attractive and the e-cigarette debate.

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Kevin Volpp Named Vice Chair of Health Policy

Source: Penn Medicine News, February 20, 2014

Kevin Volpp has been named Vice Chair of Health Policy, a new position created in Penn Medicine's Department of Medical Ethics & Health Policy.  Zeke Emanuel, Chair of the Medical Ethics and Health Policy Department, comments that together with Dr. Steven Joffe, who was named Vice Chair of Medical Ethics, they will "help cement our department's national leadership in the areas of both health policy and medical ethics.”

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Increased Risks After Kidney Donation Very Low

Source: Los Angeles Times, February 12, 2014

A recent study in JAMA assessed the absolute risk a kidney donor faces after the operation and the added risk incurred as a result of it. Although the added risks from donating a kidney are very low, Scott Halpern comments that "people are notoriously bad" at weighing increased risks of unwanted outcomes against a very low probability that it will ever happen. He also offers that in order to help prospective donors make the right decision, transplant surgeons should ask them to focus on how low the probability of the poor outcome is to begin with.

CVS's Decision to Stop Selling Cigarettes

Source: New York Times, February 5, 2014; Philadelphia Inquirer, February 9, 2014

The nation's second-largest drug store chain, CVS Caremark, announced last week that it would stop selling cigarettes and tobacco products by October 2014, resulting in a projected annual revenue loss of two billion dollars. CHIBE advisory Board Members Troy Brennan and Steven Schroeder, wrote an op-ed article in JAMA making the case to eliminate tobacco products from drug stores. Dr. Brennan remarks "what we’re thinking about is if others want to emulate this business decision we’ve made, then over time that will make cigarettes less available — and scientific literature does suggest that a reduction in the availability of cigarettes reduces smoking.”

Geography Plays a Major Role in Access to Pediatric Kidney Transplantation in the U.S.

Source: Penn Medicine News;, January 16, 2014

A study recently published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology finds that waiting times for kidneys for children with renal disease can vary widely depending on which state you live in. Peter Reese and colleagues say this discrepancy is particularly troublesome because children awaiting kidney transplants must undergo kidney dialysis.

Tags: Peter Reese

The Fresh Start Effect

Source: Knowledge@Wharton, January 6, 2014; The Daily Pennsylvanian, January 16, 2014; ThinkAdvisor, January 27, 2014

Wharton researchers Hengchen Dai, Katherine Milkman and Jason Riis found that "fresh starts" demarcated by temporal landmarks, such as a birthday, the beginning of a school semester, or even next Monday, cause people to be more effective at setting goals and increasing their chances of achieving them. Now that they have demonstrated the existence of this "fresh start effect," Hengchen Dai notes "the next step is to determine how we can induce fresh starts in the workplace."