Behavioral Economics / Behavior Change

The application of principles of economics and psychology to examine how individuals make choices in complex contexts--such as personal finances and health--and to improve these decisions and behaviors.

Attitudes on Technological, Social, and Behavioral Economic Strategies to Reduce Cellphone Use While Driving in Teens

Apr. 25, 2018

Abstract [from journal]

Objective: The majority of U.S. teens admit to handheld cellphone use while driving, an increasingly common cause of crashes. Attitudes towards novel cellphone applications and settings that block use while driving are poorly understood, potentially limiting uptake. We examined teens' willingness to reduce cellphone use while driving and perceptions of potential strategies to limit this behavior.

Methods: Teen drivers (n = 153) aged 16-17 who owned smartphones and admitted to texting while driving completed an online...

Support for Self-Management and Prenatal Health Behavior Change: Implications for Pediatric Promotion of Interconception Care

Apr. 13, 2018

Emily F. Gregory, Charmaine S. Wright, Meredith Matone, ...

Abstract [from journal]

Pediatricians increasingly endorse a dual generation approach to health, in which parental health behaviors are recognized as critical to promoting child health. Positive parental behaviors often emerge during pregnancy, for reasons that remain incompletely described. We surveyed mothers in the immediate postpartum period to identify beliefs about health behavior change and characteristics of prenatal care associated with successful change. Sampling at a tertiary care hospital captured an English-speaking adult population with healthy infants. Respondents (...

Partners and Alerts in Medication Adherence: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Mar. 27, 2018

Abstract [from journal]

Background: Poor medication adherence is common and limits the effectiveness of treatment.

Objective: To investigate how social supports, automated alerts, and their combination improve medication adherence.

Design: Four-arm, randomized clinical trial with a 6-month intervention.

Participants: A total of 179 CVS health employees or adult dependents with CVS Caremark prescription coverage, a current daily statin prescription, a medication possession ratio less than 80%,...

When Physicians Support Financial Penalties to Reduce Low-Value Care (and When They Don’t)

Dec. 16, 2017

Despite professional consensus, guidelines, and national campaigns, physicians continue to provide many low-value services. These services are defined as having little to no benefit, little benefit relative to their cost, or outsized potential harm compared to their benefit. Policies have tried to promote high-value care by altering physician compensation, but have had limited success in part because they are rarely based on theories of physician behavior.

Using Wearable Devices and Smartphones to Track Physical Activity: Initial Activation, Sustained Use, and Step Counts Across Sociodemographic Characteristics in a National Sample

Dec. 3, 2017

Mitesh S. Patel, Luca Foschini, Gregory W. Kurtzman, Jingsan Zhu, Wenli Wang, Charles A.L. Rareshide, Susan M. Zbikowski

In Annals of Internal Medicine, Mitesh Patel and colleagues describe rates of initial use of activity trackers, sustained use after 6 months, and step counts across different sociodemographic characteristics from a wellness program offered across the United States. Many large employers are using data collected from wearable devices and smartphones in workplace wellness programs; however, the characteristics of persons who use these devices are poorly understood.

Mean daily step count and sociodemographic characteristics between 2014 and 2015 were obtained from Humana for...

The First Digital Pill: Innovation or Invasion?

Nov. 20, 2017

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently approved the first digital pill that tracks if patients have taken their medication. Our experts weighed in on the potential benefits of the new technology, as well as the potential for abuse.

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Effect of a Game-Based Intervention Designed to Enhance Social Incentives to Increase Physical Activity Among Families: The BE FIT Randomized Clinical Trial

Nov. 8, 2017

Mitesh S. Patel, Emelia J. Benjamin, Kevin G. Volpp, Caroline S. Fox, ...

In JAMA Internal Medicine, Mitesh Patel and colleagues, including Kevin Volpp and Dylan Small, tested the effectiveness of a gamification intervention designed using insights from behavioral economics to increase physical activity. The researchers piloted the Behavioral Economics Framingham Incentive Trial (BE FIT), a randomized clinical trial with a 12-week intervention period and a 12-week follow-up period, among 200 adults (comprising 94 families) enrolled in the Framingham Heart Study.

All participants received daily feedback on whether or not they had achieved their...

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