CHIBE News Archive

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Research Partnership With Independence Blue Cross

Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, June 28, 2013Eweek, July 14, 2013

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.

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Using Behavioral Economic Insights to Advance Population Health

Source: The Commonwealth Fund, June 27, 2013

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.

Penalties for Non-participation in Wellness Programs

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.”

Changing the Lung Transplant Waitlist Rule

Source: ABC News, June 10, 2013; CBS News, June 12, 2013

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.”

Penn Medicine Connected Health Symposium

Source: LDI Health Economist, June 5, 2013

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.

The Future of Employer Incentive Programs

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.

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Penn Experts Respond to Oregon Medicaid Study

Source: LDI Health Economist, May 3, 2013

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.

Effectiveness of the Health Insurance Penalty

Source: American Public Media, April 30, 2013

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.

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Competitive Group Incentives Effective for Weight Loss

Sources: CBS NewsTime Magazine, LA Times, ABC News, Penn Medicine News, April 2, 2013

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.”

Incentives and the Accountable Care Organization Model

Source: Modern Healthcare Magazine, March 30, 2013

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.

Tags: David Asch

Smoker Hiring Ban Debate

Sources: Philadephia InquirerForbes, The Atlantic, Medpage Today, Los Angeles Times, March 28, 2013

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."

Leonard Davis Institute's William L. Kissick Health Policy Research Award Winner

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.

Tags: Nora Becker

New York Times Magazine Profiles Adam Grant

Source: New York Times Magazine, March 27, 2013

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.

Tags: Adam Grant

Soda Ban Struck Down

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.

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Financial Incentives for Weight Loss in the Workplace

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.

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Patient and Physician Perspectives of High Value Care

Source: Penn Medicine News, March 6, 2013

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"

Wellness Programs Getting Costly For Workers

Source: Southern California Public Radio, March 5, 2013

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.

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Boosting Participation in Workplace Wellness Programs

 Source: Kojo Nnamdi Show on WAMU, March 4, 2013

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.

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Contagious: Why Things Catch On

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.

Tags: Jonah Berger

Using Sweepstakes to Incentivize Employees to be Healthier

Source: Knowledge at Wharton, February 27, 2013

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. 

Tags: Kevin Volpp