The Philadelphia Inquirer recently covered a story on Penn's research partnership with Independence Blue Cross. They will be collaborating on several studies under the direction of Kevin Volpp. One study utilizes GlowCaps, electronic pill bottles that remind patients to take their medicine, which allow the study teams to track medication adherence 24 hours a day.
Kevin Volpp and Scott Halpern discuss how insights from behavioral economics can improve the health of the population. Volpp offers that interventions that combine telemedicine and behavioral nudges can strengthen traditional care approaches while Scott Halpern speaks to decision fatigue and the importance of framing.
Source: Financial Times, June 20, 2013
The use of penalties for employee non-participation in wellness programs has more than doubled in the US from 2009 to 2011. Penalties to drive reductions in smoking or obesity raise ethical questions, says Harald Schmidt. “In principle there would be nothing wrong if it was equally easy for all to comply with conditions,” he says. “But because that’s questionable for smoking, just as for obesity, real fairness issues are raised.”
On a 6ABC news segment covering the lung transplant waiting list rule, Scott Halpern offered his thoughts on the ramifications of the decision to overturn the current rule that keeps children under 12 from qualifying for adult lungs. He commented that we may not "want judges making medical decisions any more than we want doctors deciding Supreme Court cases" and pointed out that “every child under the age of 12 who gets an adult lung, that’s someone else, probably a child who is 13 or 14, who is not getting that lung.”
The Penn Medicine Center for Innovation along with the Chief Medical Information Officer and Network Development Office convened the recent University of Pennsylvania's first annual "Connected Health Symposium" on April 3rd to explore the latest technological developments in the field of medicine. A video report comprised of all presentations from this event can be viewed here.
Source: The Atlantic, June 3, 2013
The Obama administration recently released its final rules on employment-based wellness programs. In an interview with The Atlantic, Kevin Volpp offers that not all incentive programs are created equal and that the impact of the incentive depends on the context in which it is offered and how it is framed.
It would be wrong to assume that the findings of a newly-released two-year study of Medicaid outcomes in Oregon is conclusive evidence of the worth -- or lack of worth -- of Medicaid, according to health economist Dan Polsky. He was one of four top University of Pennsylvania health policy experts who cautioned that the study's findings have been the subject of sensational headlines that present a less-than-accurate picture.
Under the Affordable Care Act, individuals will have to pay a penalty of $95 or 1% of their income (whichever is higher) for not having health coverage. The question is whether that amount is enough of a penalty, since health coverage can cost thousands of dollars. Kevin Volpp offers that this modest penalty could work better than most people think, because of a phenomenon known as loss aversion which refers to people's tendency to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains.
A Way to Health study published in this weeks Annals of Internal Medicine, conducted by PI's Jeff Kullgren and Kevin Volpp, found that offering CHOP employees a competitive group financial incentive was more effective for weight loss than an individual incentive. Co-author David Asch comments “our study demonstrates that how one offers the incentive is critically important. A lot of employers, insurers, and health care institutions are rolling out incentive programs now, and with a little design help they can make those programs much more effective.”
Incentivizing patients to seek higher value medical services may be crucial to the success of the accountable care organization model. David Asch offers that the most effective incentive designs take into account the timing and delivery of incentives.
The New England Journal of Medicine featured two perspective essays about the smoker hiring ban by two groups of Penn researchers. David Asch, Kevin Volpp and Ralph Muller highlight the reasons an employer would want to implement a no-smoking policy for new hires in their article "Conflicts and Compromises in Not Hiring Smokers." The opposing article, written by Harald Schmidt, Kristin Voigt and Ezekiel Emanuel, points out the ethical issues behind the ban in their article "The Ethics of Not Hiring Smokers."
Source: LDI News, March 28, 2013
Graduate student and CHIBE trainee Nora Becker was named one of the winners of the Leonard Davis Institute's William L. Kissick Health Policy Research Award. Becker was acknowledged for her work as co-author on the paper "The Impact of Two Incentive-Based Health Interventions on Stages of Change and Patient Activation Measure Scores." The Health Policy Research award is given to students who have done meritorious research in the field of health economics.
This week's cover story of New York Times Magazine profiled Adam Grant, a Wharton professor and affiliated faculty member at CHIBE. He is known as a "rising star" in the field of organizational psychology. Along with being given tenure at age 30, he is also the highest-rated professor at Wharton.
Source: New York Times, March 12, 2013
A day before it was supposed to go into effect, the courts ruled against New York's proposed soda ban. Kevin Volpp offers that the proposed law is a nudge because it makes it less convenient to buy larger amounts of soda and it is also implicitly a tax by raising the relative cost of an ounce of soda. He also commented that the soda ban is a slippery slope because it could worry people that similar bans might be applied to many other types of items such as potato chips.
Source: NPR, March 7, 2013
There has been an explosion of interest in workplace wellness programs that offer financial incentives, according to Kevin Volpp, in an interview with NPR. He commented on the results of a recent study conducted at the Mayo Clinic that offered financial incentives in the form of lotteries and deposits. In this study, the incentive group lost an average of 9 pounds, which Volpp considers to be promising, but may not make a big difference in their health.
High-value care has recently been emphasized as an important goal of health care reform efforts. In an article published in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lisa Rosenbaum explains that creating value to physicians means reducing overuse of unnecessary tests, while for patients, creating value means enhancing their experience and paying attention to processes that matter to them. Rosembaum calls for a view that encompasses both patients and physician perspectives of "high-value care"
In an interview with Southern California Public Radio, Kevin Volpp spoke about workplace wellness programs and how they are using outcome-based incentives to a much greater degree. This means that workers will pay more for health insurance if they fail to get in better shape. This is supported by the new healthcare law, under which employers can impose larger financial penalties starting next year.
Kevin Volpp was a recent guest on the Kojo Nnamdi show, a radio show based in Washington, DC that highlights news, political issues and social trends. He spoke about using economic incentives to get employees motivated to join employer wellness programs. He noted that it is not the just size of the reward that makes a program effective most, rather it depends on how simple the system is, the salience of the rewards and frequency of feedback.
Source: USA Today March 3, 2013
Jonah Berger, assistant professor of marketing at Wharton, recently published a book about why certain stories get shared, e-mails get forwarded, or videos go viral. In an interview with USA Today, Jonah describes that his book, Contagious: Why Things Catch On, is all about is how word of mouth and social influence more generally drive people to talk about and share things and drive those things to become popular.
Eighty percent of large employers in the US are using financial incentives for health behaviors. Kevin Volpp offers that sweepstakes are an effective incentive mechanism to get employers more bang for their buck, that is, get higher rates of completion for the same amount of money.