LDI Briefs

Behavioral Economics and Health Annual Symposium

Issue Brief
Sep. 7, 2011

The application of behavioral economics to health and health care has captured the imagination of policymakers across the political spectrum. The idea is that many people are irrational in predictable ways, and that this both contributes to unhealthy behaviors like smoking and holds one of the keys to changing those behaviors. Because health care costs continue to increase, and a substantial portion of costs are incurred because of unhealthy behaviors, employers and insurers have great interest in using financial incentives to change behaviors. 

When Genetic Screening is Useful, but Not Used

Issue Brief
Aug. 3, 2011

This Issue Brief describes the case of a genetic condition for which genetic screening of family members is clearly useful, and just as clearly underused. It explores the barriers to the use of genetic screening and has implications for the future as genetic technologies become more complex and produce more uncertainty.

Evaluating Health Information Technology’s Clinical Effects

Issue Brief
Feb. 11, 2011

This Issue Brief reports on the experience of one hospital system that used its CPOE to reduce the incidence of a serious drug interaction. This rigorous test of a specific CPOE intervention shows that an electronic alert system can be effective in changing prescribing, but may also have unintended consequences for patient safety.

Treating Viral Respiratory Tract Infections with Antibiotics in Hospitals: No Longer a Case of Mistaken Identity

Dec. 20, 2010

This Issue Brief investigates antibiotic use in hospitalized adults with a confirmed viral infection, a group of patients that may not benefit from such therapy. Understanding the factors that lead to inappropriate antibiotic use may help change clinical practice and limit antibiotic resistance.

Preventive surgery is associated with reduced cancer risk and mortality in women with BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations

Nov. 22, 2010

This Issue Brief summarizes the results of the latest, largest, multinational study on the effects of preventive surgery in these women. The results are consistent with earlier studies and provide strong evidence for the use of preventive surgery as an effective approach to managing this genetic risk.

The California Nurse Staffing Mandate: Implications for Other States

Jun. 28, 2010

In 2004, California became the first state to implement minimum nurse-to-patient staffing requirements inacute care hospitals. It remains the only state to enact such requirements, although at least 18 states have introduced nurse staffing legislation. The goals of the legislation were to reduce nurse workloads, improve recruitment and retention of nurses, and improve quality of care. This Issue Brief summarizes the first comprehensive evaluation of the California mandate in achieving these goals.

Foreclosure and Health Status

Feb. 22, 2010

This Issue Brief summarizes two studies that examine the health implications of foreclosure and reveal a vulnerable population that may benefit from coordinated health and financial services.