Six LDI affiliates have signed on to an open letter to the Presidential candidates urging them to address the burden of chronic disease in the US. The letter, organized by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease and signed by 85 health economists from across the political spectrum, focuses on the connection between wealth and health. It notes that we now spend 86% of our health care dollars on treating people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. These direct health care costs, plus the added burden of lost productivity, missed work days, disability, and premature death, drain our economy and exact a significant personal toll on families and caregivers.
March 7, 2016 [cross-posted from the Health Cents blog on Philly.com]
Today, pregnant women and new mothers encounter the mantra ‘breast is best’ at every turn. Along with extolling the health benefits of breastfeeding, breastfeeding promotion regularly refers to breastfeeding as the ‘natural’ way to feed infants. Recent work has challenged the extent of breastfeeding’s benefits, and ethical criticism of breastfeeding promotion as overbearing, stigmatizing and shaming has also grown. Despite this growing critical perspective, there has been little said thus far about breastfeeding promotion that praises breastfeeding as the ‘natural’ way to feed infants.
Dr. Grace Terrell, President and CEO of Cornerstone Health Care, recently visited LDI and shared her experience of directing a physician-led health system through health care reform. Cornerstone began in 1995 as a multidisciplinary group of 42 physicians in 15 practices in central North Carolina, and now has more than 300 physicians. It has achieved excellent clinical outcomes, but staying afloat has been a challenge.
There’s no shortage of opinions about whether the FDA’s process of approving medical devices is too lax, too strict, or just right. After all, there’s a lot at stake, both for patients and for the $110 billion market for medical devices in the U.S. But evidence, one way or another, has been sorely lacking. A study by LDI Senior Fellows Matthew Grennan and Robert Town goes a long way toward filling that gap.
Last week, NEJM Catalyst and the University of Pennsylvania Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the Leonard Davis Institute (LDI CHIBE) hosted a live event and webcast on “Patient Engagement: Behavioral Strategies for Better Health.” Fourth-year medical student Harrison Kalodimos weighs in on what he heard, and how physicians can empower patients to prevent and treat disease through behavior change.
February 25, 2016 [cross-posted from the Health Cents blog on Philly.com]
New research asks the question whether bribing kids to eat more fruits and vegetables can change their eating habits – even after the bribe goes away. Of course for adults, we don’t call them bribes. We call them incentives. And incentives are all the rage. The answer: financial incentives can have a large effect on eating behavior but once they go away – a lot of the effect disappears. But for some people, the positive behavior does persist.
The Flint water crisis is a stark and grim reminder of the connections among housing, neighborhoods, and health. But neighborhoods influence health and well-being in more subtle ways that do not often make the national news. Living amidst poverty and violence can affect individuals and their life-course in ways that are hard to measure, yet important to discern. A new study sheds light on how a neighborhood affects educational outcomes among participants in an affordable housing program in West Philadelphia.
LDI Senior Fellows David Asch, Mark Pauly, and Ralph Muller have a great piece in this month’s New England Journal of Medicine on how we as a society think about preventive versus cancer care. They observe that whenever preventive care strategies are studied, there is an obsessive concern with the return on investment of these strategies and that this same scrutiny is not applied to cancer care.
The latest study by LDI Senior Fellow Mitesh Patel and colleagues adds to our growing understanding of how best to frame financial incentives to encourage healthy behaviors, and employer wellness managers should take note. Patel and colleagues’ randomized control trial, in the Annals of Internal Medicine, shows that financial incentives framed as a loss (upfront rewards that are reduced when goals aren’t achieved) are most effective in increasing physical activity among overweight and obese adult employees of a major university (ok, it’s Penn).
February 15, 2016 [cross-posted from the Health Cents blog on Philly.com]
Senator Bernard Sanders has made one of the central points of his campaign a promise to work toward “Medicare for All,” taxpayer funded universal health insurance. “Medicare” is a good brand, with great loyalty among seniors, loyalty engendered as much by the fact that beneficiaries only pay 10% of the cost of their coverage as by the attractiveness of the coverage itself. But this label for the Sanders plan is somewhat deceptive, like slapping the Chevrolet name and bow-tie badge on a car made in Korea. In both cases, it may still be a decent product, but it is not the same as its namesake.