Source: Reuters, August 10, 2013 In response to the rapidly growing employer wellness-based incentive program market, Weight Watchers is planning to commit more resources to it’s workforce division. This division, called Health Solutions, partners with corporations to create incentive programs with Weight Watchers. Although the market appears to be growing, employers are not required to report participation in these programs, so it is hard to gather exact data, said Harald Schmidt.
Source: New York Times, August 10, 2013 Part of the solution to keeping patients adherent to medications that are of high benefit to them is to offer them free of cost. However, people still neglect to take their medicines even if they are free, so a more creative solution is warranted. Several studies under the direction of Kevin Volpp use GlowCaps to remind patients to take their medication. They also offer financial incentives in the form of lotteries that people can only win if they take their medications.
Source: Institute of Medicine, August 1, 2013; Penn Medicine News Scott Halpern has been named an Institute of Medicine (IOM) Anniversary Fellow for a two-year term during which he will serve on an expert study committee and participate in other health and science policy work. He is one of four Anniversary Fellows that were selected for their professional qualifications, reputations as scholars, professional accomplishments, and relevance of current field expertise to the work of the IOM.
Source: NPR, Philadelphia Inquirer, July 25, 2013 Penn State employees that do not participate in a new health program titled “Take Care of Your Health” will be charged a $100 a month surchage. Kevin Volpp and Mark Pauly were both interviewed for their critiques on the new program. Kevin Volpp offered that “a penalty-type program doesn’t engender warm feelings among the employees that the employer is looking out for their best interests and is just trying to help them.” Mark Pauly commented that “it’s a pipe dream that it will save Penn State money.”
Source: CBS News, July 19, 2013 CBS News covered a story about a recently published study in the American Journal of Public Health. The study, led by Julie Downs, supplemented menu labeling with calorie intake recommendations and found that people who were given the calorie guidelines ate an average of 49 more calories more than those who did not receive the guidelines. Downs commented that “the bigger issue is that asking people to do math three times a day every day of their lives is a lot,” She also added “because it’s not like we make a decision about what to…
Source: Knowledge@Wharton, July 17, 2013 Creators of “connected-health devices” are facing several challenges including FDA guidelines and engagement among high-risk populations. The Way to Health platform, managed by Kevin Volpp and David Asch, has successfully tested several devices to improve engagement among people that are at high risk. Kevin Volpp believes that technology is an enabler, but the key challenge is changing people’s behavior.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, June 28, 2013; Eweek, 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.
Source: Penn Medicine Magazine, Summer, 2013 The Summer 2013 issue of Penn Medicine Magazine features a story titled “How to Get People to Live Healthier,” which focuses on the behavioral economics research being conducted by Kevin Volpp and other colleagues at CHIBE.
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.
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.”