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Learning How Behavioral Economics Impacts Health Decisions

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Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics Research

CHIBE researchers apply concepts from the field of behavioral economics to design, implement, and evaluate interventions that improve health and build knowledge about efficacy, cost and effectiveness. 

Basic Science Core Request for Applications

The Basic Science Core aims to support laboratory or low-cost field studies that will shed light on mechanisms that can generate behavior change.  In contrast to previous large-scale field studies, which have often combined multiple mechanisms into one intervention in order to maximize impact on behavior, basic science projects supported by the Core focus on disentangling and precisely identifying the impacts of individual mechanisms.  CHIBE researchers interested in applying for project support can click here for more information.



Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics Research Studies

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Collaboration to Reduce Disparities in Hypertension

Principal Investigators: Volpp / Kimmel 

This is a large scale study testing methods to improve hypertension among a group of low income patients with poorly controlled blood pressure. Participants are randomized to receive elimination of copayments, a computer-based targeted behavioral intervention, both, or usual care. 

Funded by: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and Pfizer, Inc.

Impact of Resident Work Hour Rules on Errors and Quality

Principal Investigators: Volpp / Silber

Co-investigators:  Bellini, Bosk, Potts, Romano, Shea, Small, Wainer

Regulation of work hours for physicians in training was put in place by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) in 2003. While there is some evidence that the regulations improved mortality outcomes in the short-term, little is known about the impact on educational outcomes or longer-term clinical outcomes. This research involves analysis of the effect of ACGME work hour rules on errors and quality in non-VA teaching hospitals.

Funded by: National Institutes of Health / National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Impact of Treatment Profitability on Hospital Responses to Financial Stress

Principal Investigator: Volpp

Changes mandated by recent health care reform will likely systematically reduce hospital payment and profitability in the coming years. The study of hospitals’ service line adoption decisions based on payment generosity may provide useful guidance to policy makers. This research involves the assessment of differences in profitability among hospital service lines and their relationship to hospital outcomes.

Funded by: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation HCFO Program

Interventions to Improve Fatigue Management Among Physician Trainees

Principal Investigators: Volpp / Shea 

Co-investigators:  Bellini, Bosk, Dinges, Small

This is a randomized, controlled trial to test a mandatory nap intervention program and changes in amount of sleep, alertness and mood in medical residents while on overnight extended duty shifts. A qualitative analysis will also be performed to assess barriers to feasibility and differential adoption of mandatory nap programs.

Funded by: Veterans Affairs Health Services Research and Development Service

Tags: Kevin Volpp

Deposit Contracts for Weight Loss

Principal Investigators: Volpp / Loewenstein 

Co-investigators:  Troxel

Deposit contracts are pre-commitment devices that are used in various non-health-related areas such as retirement savings investment, which help people overcome their present-biased tendencies. This is a randomized, controlled trial which tests the association between various types of deposit contract incentive schemes and weight loss among overweight volunteers in a workplace setting.

Funded by: McKinsey & Company, Inc.

A Randomized Trial of Interventions to Improve Warfarin Adherence

Principal Investigators: Volpp / Kimmel 

Co-investigators:  Doshi, Loewenstein, Shea, Troxel

Pilot data from a study funded by the Aetna Foundation has shown that delivery of a lottery-based financial incentive was feasible and may be associated with substantial improvement in adherence. This larger phase III study is powered to evaluate the effectiveness and cost effectiveness of incentives and reminders for warfarin adherence.

Funded by: National Institutes of Health / National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute

Measuring living kidney transplantation at renal transplant centers: Magnitude, determinants and consequences

Principal Investigator: Reese

Variation in live donor kidney transplantation across transplant centers. 

Funded by: National Institutes of Health 

Tags: NIH, Peter Reese

Charitable Fundraising

Principal Investigators: Loewenstein / Cryder 

In collaboration with organizations such as the Red Cross, United Way, and the Carnegie Mellon Development Office, this project is exploring different ways to increase charitable giving, volunteering and blood donations.  Specifically, the project explores a variety of different ways of increasing the tangibility to donors of the benefits produced by their donations.

Funded by: Hewlett Foundation

T. Franklin Williams Award in Geriatric Research

Principle Investigator: Reese

Examination of the effects of emerging organ allocation proposals on older kidney transplant candidates.

Funded by: Association of Specialty Professors and American Society of Nephrology

Exploring the Optimal Forecasting Frontier: How Much Room is There to Improve Subjective Forecasting Accuracy?

Principal Investigator: Mellers 

This project examines factors that predict accurate forecasters and ways to elicit aggregate individual predictions to arrive at more accurate overall forecasts.