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 "...in business academia, we see a 25 percentage point gap in the response rate to Caucasian males vs. women and minorities."
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.”
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.
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 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.
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.
In response to the Australian government's recently expressed concern over the country's growing health budget, the Australian outlet TheConversation.com 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.
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."
Source: New York Times, January 3, 2014
In a New York Times "Gray Matter" commentary, Kevin Volpp and Katherine Milkman provide behavioral economics-based insights into how consumers can better keep their New Year's resolutions. These insights are based on their own research and include "making a plan," using financially-based commitment devices, "temptation bundling" and mentor support systems.
Source: Slate, January 2, 2014
A recent Slate article describing ways to motivate people to exercise refer's to Kevin Volpp's study that took morbidly obese men and gave them financial incentives for meeting weight loss goals. The incentive groups both lost a significant amount of weight, but most subjects gained the weight back after four months. Although this was not a long term solution, this challenging group changed their behavior with the help of incentives.
Source: CNBC, December 18, 2013
As part of CNBC's "Innovation Cities" series, the network interviewed Kevin Volpp along with Project Managers Amanda Hodlofski and Lisa Wesby about their research incentivizing medication adherence using GlowCaps. These studies provide immediate feedback to participants using small incentives for taking prescribed medications.
A new research letter published in JAMA Internal Medicine by Mitesh Patel finds that less than 15 percent of internal medicine residency programs have a forma; curriculum addressing the cost of care. “Teaching new physicians to practice high-value, cost-conscious care has been recognized as a national priority,” Patel said.
In November, CHIBE co-hosted a conference with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Donaghue Foundation focusing on applying behavioral economic concepts to reduce the use of low-value health care. Six grantees of the Applying Behavioral Economics Initiative discussed interventions that will test these behavioral economic concepts over next two years.
At the RWJF/Donaghue/CHIBE Conference on Applying Behavioral Economics to Perplexing Problems in Health and Health Care, attendees competed in an innovation tournament to identify testable ideas that leverage behavioral economic principles to help make people healthier by working with commercial entities. The winning team addressed the issue of texting while driving by proposing an app that could be installed onto a cell phone to send reminders not to text while driving. The top three teams won Amazon gift cards.
Kevin Volpp explains how lotteries are an effective tool for getting employees to complete heath risk assessments. "Lotteries are designed to take advantage of both the fact that people are not good at estimating probabilities and that they can anticipate the regret they would feel if they don't win something they could have easily won," he says.