“Active choice prompts are used commonly in electronic health records, but they often are not rigorously tested head-to-head against other approaches,” said the study’s senior author, Mitesh Patel, MD, the director of Penn Medicine’s Nudge Unit. “By systematically testing these interventions we can build upon the approaches that do work and turn off the ones that don’t.”
In a clinical trial testing two different forms of “nudging,” statin prescriptions at the right dosages increased significantly among patients with heart disease when doctors had to actively choose whether or not to prescribe the medications, which are used to lower cholesterol.
However, for patients who were just deemed at-risk for heart disease, neither an active choice nudge nor a more passive one affected prescribing rates. The results were published in JAMA Cardiology.