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Scott Halpern

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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

You are viewing 13 posts with the tag Scott Halpern

Incentives for Participation in a Randomized Controlled Trial

Principal investigator: Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, M.Bioethics

Paying patients to enroll in randomized clinical trials could dramatically improve the pace and scientific validity with which new interventions for cancer and other diseases are tested, but the practice raises important ethical concerns. To inform the regulation of research incentives and reduce undue variability in their use, we will conduct a randomized trial of 3 real incentives for patients with lung cancer to participate in a real trial comparing two forms of radiation therapy. The trial’s innovative design will enable definitive tests of how patients make research decisions in the face of money, and will provide the best possible evidence regarding the scientific and ethical pros and cons of incentives for research participation.

Funder: NCI/NIH 

Financial Incentives in Surveys of Healthcare Providers: Lotteries versus Guaranteed Payments

Principal Investigators: Halpern / Volpp 

Co-investigator:  Asch

This study will evaluate the relative efficacy of guaranteed payments (either up-front or conditional on response) vs. lotteries (in which respondents are entered into a random drawing for a larger reward) in increasing healthcare provider response to surveys. This study comprises 3 independent randomized trials of actuarially equivalent payments and lotteries.

Funded by: Greenwall Foundation and University of Pennsylvania, LDI CHIBE Pilot Project

Developing Interactive Technologies to Improve Research and Health Behavior

Principal Investigators: Asch / Volpp

Co-investigators:  Bellamy, Halpern, Glanz, Goldberg, Groeneveld, Karlawish, Kimmel, Kuna, Loewenstein, Rozin, Shea, Troxel, Zauberman

David A. Asch, MD, MBA and Kevin G. Volpp, MD, PhD are developing IT infrastructure that will deploy clinical and behavioral research studies to advance the science at the intersection of behavioral economics and health.  The project is called Way to Health. For more information see:

Funded by: National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging

A Randomized Trial of Expanded Choice Sets to Increase Completion of Advance Directives

Principal Investigator: Scott Halpern, MD, PhD

This study will examine whether expanding choice sets can increase the completion of and choices within advance directives among patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) presenting at DaVita Dialysis Centers in Philadelphia, PA. 

Funder: Medical Ethics and Health Policy, CHIBE

Evaluation of a Workplace Wellness Program Implementation

Principal Investigator: Scott Halpern

We propose to develop an evidence base regarding best practices in workplace wellness program implementation by leveraging a unique opportunity: an evaluation of 6 of KKR’s portfolio companies, within which we will determine which program features are most effective for improving employee cardiovascular health. Differences in program feature implementation, and in incentive size and structure, offer considerable potential for determining how and for whom wellness programs work.

Funder: AHA

Program in Behavioral Economics and End-of-Life Decisions

Principal Investigators: Scott Halpern

This grant provides initial support for development of a new research program seeking to (1) understand how choice architecture influences end-of-life care decisions, (2) develop interventions based on this understanding that improve the quality of end-of-life care while reducing its costs, and (3) develop new paradigms for thinking about end-of-life decision making.

Funder: Otto Haas Charitable Trust

Behavioral Economics to improve Advance Care OptioNs (BEACON)

Principle Investigators: Scott Halpern, Mark Vogel

This is a randomized trial of endowment effects and focusing effects to increase completion of advance directives and rates of discussions of end-of-life care preferences between patients and family members. The study population consists of recently hospitalized older adults who have been discharged home with the use of home health care services provided by Reverence Home Health Care in Michigan.

Funder: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Improving Seriously Ill Patients’ End-of-Life Care by Changing the Default Option in Advance Directives

Principal Investigator: Scott Halpern

This multicenter randomized trial seeks to measure the impacts of default options in advance directives on clinical, economic, and patient- and surrogate-reported outcomes.             

Funder: Moore Foundation

Comparative Efficacy, Acceptance and Effectiveness of Health Incentive Structures

Principal Investigator: Scott Halpern

The goal of the project is to compare different economic incentive structures for smoking cessation to define the mechanisms by which incentives alter behavior and inform the design of smoking interventions.

Funder: National Cancer Institute

A Randomized-Controlled Trial on Decision Making Effort and Decision Fatigue

Principal Investigators: Scott Halpern, Mary McKenzie

This Penn-CMU Roybal Center on Behavioral Economics and Health pilot project, guided by lab experiments showing that repeated decision-making increases the risk of developing decision fatigue, aims to evaluate the existence and consequences of decision fatigue in settings of complex medical decision- making by patients and their surrogates and to identify modifiable factors for the severity of decision fatigue among patients with chronic medical conditions.

Funder: National Institute on Aging

Randomized Trial of Healthy Eating Interventions

Principal Investigators:  Saulsgiver / Halpern

Co-investigators:  Stearman

This pilot study examines the effectiveness and feasibility of an intervention for promoting increased consumption of fruits and vegetables by incenting their purchase where the overwhelming majority of food is sold: grocery stores.  Two incentive designs are compared.

Funded by:  National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging

The Effects of 24-hour Intensivist Coverage in the Medical ICU

Principal Investigator:  Halpern

Available evidence suggests intensivist management of critically ill patients improves patient outcomes.  The objective of this study is to evaluate the comparative effectiveness and cost effectiveness of nocturnal staffing with and without intensivist coverage in a large academic medical hospital's medical ICU.

Funded by:  National Institutes of Health / National Institute on Aging

Payment for Living Kidney Donation: An Undue or Unjust Inducement?

Principal Investigators: Reese / Halpern

This research aims to test empirical assumptions about human decision-making with respect to kidney donation among urban community members and those being evaluated for kidney donation at a large city hospital. The influences of the risk of kidney donation, the payment to be offered, and the recipient of the kidney (family member vs. anonymous recipient) on the subjects’ willingness to donate will be evaluated.