Prescriptions of cholesterol-lowering statins for heart disease patients rose significantly when doctors were prompted to choose whether or not to order them, according to a new study. Doctors received either a “passive choice” or “active choice” notification. “Active choices” notified doctors to either accept or dismiss prescribing a certain dose of statins.
Among doctors who received active nudges, there was a 4-percentage-point increase in optimal statin prescribing in patients with heart disease, according to the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine study.
According to Dr. Mitesh Patel, director of the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit. “By systematically testing these interventions we can build upon the approaches that do work and turn off the ones that don’t.”
First author Dr. Srinath Adusumalli said active choice prompts led to small increases in prescribing statins for patients at highest risk — those who already had plaque buildup in their arteries.