All Posts By

Melissa Ostroff

Q&A with Katherine Milkman: Keeping Your Resolutions

By | CHIBEblog

What are some common roadblocks to keeping new year’s resolutions? How can behavioral strategies remove them? Self-control problems lead us to put off doing what we resolve to do better until later.  I’ll start the diet, but NEXT week.  I’ll go to the gym, but NEXT week.  Commitment devices are a terrific behavioral solution.  They involve signing up for some kind of punishment in the future (e.g., paying a fine, being ashamed in front of friends on social media) if we don’t actually do what we’ve resolved to do.  So I might sign up for a commitment device (say using…

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When It Comes to Calorie Consumption, Is Knowledge Power?

By | CHIBEblog

“The other day, I went to order lunch from a local chain restaurant. Half a turkey sandwich and a small cup of soup sounded like a good, appropriately sized, warm meal for a wintery day. As I placed my order, a kiosk tallied the calories right before my eyes: 400 for the sandwich and almost 300 for the soup… Hmm. That seemed like a lot. Maybe, I thought, if I remove the bacon from the sandwich… and get a smaller soup…? “You know what? I’m sure it’s fine,” I told myself, and completed the order. Over-consumption of calories has been…

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LDI eMagazine: Penn Behavioral Economics Research Team Wins $600,000 Donaghue Grant

By | In the News

A behavioral economics research team led by Penn Medicine’s Amol Navathe and Mitesh Patel has received a $600,000 grant from the Donaghue Foundation to conduct studies evaluating two different potential ways to reduce physicians’ opioid prescribing. The large project will involve 50 emergency departments and urgent care centers affiliated with 24 hospitals operated by the Sutter Health System throughout northern California. Called “The REDUCE Trial,” the three-year project will test if electronic health records default options can be used to effectively decrease the number of opioid pills physicians prescribe, and, if monthly reports comparing each physician’s opioid prescribing patterns with those of his or…

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David Laibson: Solving the Commitment Puzzle

By | CHIBEblog

CHIBE was pleased to welcome David Laibson, Phd as a keynote speaker on day two of our annual Behavioral Economics & Health Symposium, hosted jointly this year with the NBER Roybal Center for Behavior Change in Health and Savings. In his talk, Laibson presented attendees with a problem he calls the commitment puzzle, and a solution – private paternalism—that can help us keep the commitments we make to ourselves even in the absence of the ability to predict our own behavior.

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Duke Health Policy: Healthcare Consumers Find Little Information Online

By | In the News

Trying to be an informed healthcare consumer in the United States is harder than you might think, according to researchers from the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. When consumers search for healthcare prices online, only 17 percent of sites provide information on the price of common procedures, making it difficult for patients without insurance, who have high-deductible plans, or whose plans include other kinds of cost sharing to determine how much their care will cost and what they will pay out of pocket. The study’s conclusions, published today as a research letter in JAMA internal medicine, are based on a systematic…

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KSDK St. Louis: Does it work to dangle a carrot for patients to take healthy steps?

By | In the News

Patricia Alexander knew she needed a mammogram but just couldn’t find the time. “Every time I made an appointment, something would come up,” said Alexander, 53, who lives in Moreno Valley, Calif. Over the summer, her doctor’s office, part of Vantage Medical Group, promised her a $25 Target gift card if she got the exam. Alexander, who’s insured through Medi-Cal, California’s version of the Medicaid program for lower-income people, said that helped motivate her to make a new appointment — and keep it. Health plans, medical practices and some Medicaid programs are increasingly offering financial incentives to motivate Medicaid patients…

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Standard Digital: How ‘medicines first’ HIV policy is changing sex in Kenya

By | In the News

The World Aids Day observed yesterday also marked the fifth year since the US adopted a ‘medicines first’ HIV policy for Kenya and other donor recipient countries. Titled ‘Dollars to Results’ the policy has led to what doctors are calling over medicalisation of sex through HIV. The policy overseen by USAid since 2013, champions a model where pharmaceutical commodities represent top priority followed by treatment in which category fall health workers and medical infrastructure. At the bottom are behaviour change HIV prevention activities, which were anchored on abstention and faithfulness. The policy has partly been instrumental in doubling the number…

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Fierce Healthcare: Humana’s wellness program features a small but committed group of wearables users

By | In the News

Of the nearly 4.5 million people enrolled in Humana’s wellness program, just 1.2% used an activity tracker. But the majority of those that did activate a device continued using it for six months, according to a new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine that offers the first robust evaluation of wearables within wellness programs. In one of the largest studies of wearables usage to date, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania combed through two years of data from HumanaVitality, now known as Go365. They discovered that although initial usage of activity trackers barely broke 1%, 80% of those that did engage…

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Knowledge@Wharton: Can Firms Help Employees Make Better Retirement Choices?

By | In the News

Retirement savings plans have been in the news lately as Republicans eyed limits on the maximum pretax 401(k) contributions as a way to fund the cuts outlined in their tax proposal. The 401(k) plan has over the last two decades become the dominant way that Americans save for retirement, replacing the traditional pension. But employers may not be doing as much as they can to encourage employees to use 401(k)s to adequately prepare for the end of their working years. Many employers automatically enroll workers in 401(k) plans and set a default savings level, which puts the onus on employees…

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The first digital pill: innovation or invasion?

By | CHIBEblog

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first digital pill that tracks if patients have taken their medication. Our experts weighed in on the potential benefits of the new technology, as well as the potential for abuse. (from left to right) Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD; Holly Fernandez Lynch, JD, MBe; Emily Largent, PhD, JD, RN; Robert Field, PhD, JD, MPH The pill, a version of the antipsychotic Abilify used to treat schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, has an ingestible sensor that communicates with a wearable patch to record date and time of ingestion, as well as other physiological data. Patients…

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