CHIBE in the News

Knowledge@Wharton: How behavioral economics could solve America’s health care woes

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Dr. Kevin Volpp was interviewed on the Knowledge@Wharton radio show to discuss the application of behavioral economics to the complex problem of health care reform. Volpp believes that, despite a House of Representatives vote to repeal and replace it, America isn’t done dealing with the Affordable Care Act. He and Dartmouth College economics professor Jonathan Skinner wrote an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association proposing four general principles that should be part of any effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  

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Healthcare Finance: Why fee for service should be abolished

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In a JAMA Viewpoint article, CHIBE Director of Behavioral Economics, George Loewenstein, and the University of California, Los Angeles’ Ian Larkin outline the problems associated with the fee-for-service arrangements that most doctors currently operate under. Such compensation schemes, they argue, create incentives for physicians to order more, and different, services than are best for patients. Read more in Healthcare Finance, Quartz, 6minutes, and Futurity.

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VICE: Restricting gifts from pharmaceutical reps may influence a doctor’s prescribing habits

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New CHIBE research shows that limiting how pharmaceutical sales representatives can market their products to physicians changes their drug prescribing behaviors. A team, led by George Loewenstein, PhD and Ian Larkin, PhD, examined restrictions 19 academic medical centers (AMCs) in five U.S. states placed on pharmaceutical representatives’ visits to doctors’ offices. Published in the May 2 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, the results reveal that the restrictions caused physicians to switch from prescribing drugs that were more expensive and patent-protected to generic, significantly cheaper drugs. Read more in: VICE, Slate Magazine, Yahoo Finance, WESA, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,…

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Politico, Kaiser Health News: Displaying lab test costs in electronic health records doesn’t deter doctors from ordering them

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Patients are stuck for a blood draw almost every day they are admitted to a hospital.  Lab tests are one of the most common orders placed by doctors, but research indicates that nearly one-third of these tests are not needed. Hospitals nationwide are seeking ways to use price transparency – displaying the price of lab tests at the time when doctors are placing the order – to nudge doctors to consider whether the benefits are worth the cost. But, results of a new study by Mitesh Patel, MD, MBA, MS, show that simply displaying the Medicare allowable fees did not…

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New York Times: How behavioral economics can produce better health care

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A New York Times Upshot article by Dr. Dhruv Khullar profiles the research of Dr. Kevin Volpp as part of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics. Khullar says that “insights [from behavioral economics] might be particularly valuable in health care because medical decision-making is permeated with uncertainty, complexity and emotion — all of which make it hard to weigh our options.”

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Some strategies to limit sugary drinks may backfire

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New research from Leslie John, Phd, published in Psychological Science finds that some strategies to reduce sugary drink consumption can actually generate the opposite effect.  In particular, offering smaller cup sizes with free refills actually increases sugary drink consumption. “Our research provides insight into the effectiveness of a portion limit policy,” John says. “We identify one circumstance – bundling – where the reduction in purchasing of sugar-sweetened beverages is likely to be realized, and another – refills – where the policy can in certain cases have an unintended consequence of increasing consumption.” Read more at Medical Xpress and UPI.

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Doctors, patients more likely to approve flu vaccine when given electronic prompts

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In a recent study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, Mitesh Patel found that adding an active choice mechanism to patients’ electronic health records increased rates of flu vaccination. “Our results indicate that this simple intervention could be an effective and scalable approach to use the design of electronic health records to increase the rate of flu vaccinations, which are estimated to prevent millions of flu cases and tens of thousands of related hospitalizations every year,” said Patel. Read more from Philly Voice, Becker’s Hospital Review, UPI, MedIndia, FiercePharma, KTTN/KGOZ, and  Penn Medicine News.

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Scott Halpern Honored with 2017 Translational Science Awards

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CHIBE Deputy Director Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, MBE was recognized this week with two awards as part of the Translational Science 2017 Awards Program. Halpern received not only the Association for Clinical and Translational Science Distinguished Investigator: Translation from Clinical Use into Public Benefit and Policy Award, but also the American Federation for Medical Research Outstanding Investigator Award. The Outstanding Investigator Award is presented annually to an investigator age 45 or younger in recognition of excellence in biomedical research, while the Distinguished Investigator Award recognizes senior investigators who have had an impact on clinical and translational science resulting in a…

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Do You Trust Information You Don’t Want to Hear?

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In the Journal of Economic Literature, a new study from Carnegie Mellon University explains how and why people deliberately avoid information that could threaten their happiness and well-being. “People often avoid information that could help them to make better decisions if they think the information might be painful to receive,” said George Loewenstein, CHIBE Director of Behavioral Economics. Read more from Voice of America.

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