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.
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.
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."
Sources: CBS News, US News & World Report, TIME, Fox News, Philly.com, Penn Medicine News, HealthDay, Medical News Today, WebMD, Medical Daily, Doctors Lounge, Medical Xpress, Capital Wired, NewsMax, International 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.
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.
Sources: Penn Medicine News, US News & World Report, Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR, NPR Blog, Chicago Tribune, Kaiser Health News, WebMD, HealthDay, Medical 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.
"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.
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.
Sources: JAMA, The Philadelphia Inquirer, CBS News, US News & World Report, HealthDay, 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.
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.
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.
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.
Sources: New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Reuters, NBC News, CBS News, Fox News, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, TIME, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Huffington Post, US News & World Report, Business Standard, NPR, ABC, Tech Times, Yahoo Finance, The Business Journals, Knowledge@Wharton, LDI 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."
Scott Halpern has been elected to membership in the American Society For Clinical Investigation (ASCI), a century-old medical honors society that supports the research work of physician-scientists. New members were announced and inducted by the ASCI Council at the organization's annual meeting in Chicago. Nomination and election to ASCI membership is based on the career accomplishment of "meritorious original, creative and independent investigations in the clinical and allied sciences of medicine."
Justin Bekelman, MD, Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology at the medical school and CHIBE affiliated faculty member, will receive $11.9 million for a five-year study comparing the short and long-term effects of Proton versus Photon radiation therapy for patients with stage II or III breast cancer.
A consortium of 20 academic and community practice radiation therapy centers and related professional groups will conduct a randomized clinical trial in which 1,716 patients with stage II and II breast cancer involving lymph nodes under the arm or above the collarbone will receive after-surgery Proton or Photon therapy. Patients will be followed to determine differences in subsequent heart problems, cancer control and health-related quality of life measures.
At the Translational Science 2015 annual meeting, The Association for Clinical and Translational Science and The American Federation for Medication Research presented awards to investigators with outstanding contributions of investigators and educators in the field. Kevin Volpp was the recipient of the Distinguished Investigator Award for Career Achievement and Contribution to Clinical and Translational Science for Translation from Clinical Use into Public Benefit and Policy.
John Hancock Insurance Company announced a new program being operated through a partnership with Vitality, a global wellness company that works with insurers throughout the US. The new program rewards insurers points for continuously sharing wellness data. Achieving different levels of points lead to discounts on annual life insurance premiums. Kevin Volpp commented that the program “...changes the paradigm of life insurance, in some sense, it tries to change your insurance into less of a passive vehicle that pays the bills if something happens, into a more active vehicle to get people to lower their risk.”
In an interview at the 2015 AGA Tech Summit, David Asch discusses how physicians can incorporate the principles of behavioral economics into their practices to improve patient care.
A new study published in JAMA by Meredith Case, Holland Burwick, Kevin Volpp and Mitesh Patel is the first to compare the accuracy of smartphone apps to wearable devices when measuring physical activity. The researchers tested 10 smartphone apps and devices and found that the smartphone apps were just as accurate as the devices at tracking steps. "Our findings suggest that smartphone apps could prove to be a more widely accessible and affordable way of tracking health behaviors,” says Patel.
A paper published in the New England Journal of Medicine by LDI Executive Director Dan Polsky and co-authors at Penn and the Urban Institute provided the first evidence that the Medicaid “fee bump” succeed in its goal of improving primary care availability for growing numbers of Medicaid patients. In a 10-state study before and after the pay bump, primary care appointment availability improved 7.7 percentage points for Medicaid patients, while remaining unchanged for privately insured patients.