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.

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...

Community Health Worker Support For Disadvantaged Patients With Multiple Chronic Diseases: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Research Brief
Aug. 21, 2017

Community health worker interventions hold promise for improving outcomes of low-income patients with multiple chronic diseases.

Active Choice and Financial Incentives to Increase Rates of Screening Colonoscopy – a Randomized Controlled Trial

Jul. 26, 2017

Shivan J. Mehta, Jordyn Feingold, Matthew Vandertuyn, Tess Niewood, Catherine Cox, Chyke A. Doubeni, Kevin G. Volpp, David A. Asch

In Gastroenterology, Shivan Mehta and colleagues, including Chyke Doubeni, Kevin Volpp, and David Asch, examine various behavioral economics approaches to increase uptake for colorectal cancer screening. The authors assigned 2,245 individuals, all employees of a large academic health system, to one of three interventions: an e-mail containing a phone number for scheduling (control), an e-mail with the active choice to opt in or opt out (active choice), or the active choice e-mail plus a $100 incentive (financial incentive). Participants were followed to determine whether they got...

Calorie Underestimation When Buying High-Calorie Beverages in Fast-Food Contexts

Jul. 14, 2017

Rebecca L. Franckle, Jason P. Block, Christina A. Roberto

In American Journal of Public Health, Rebecca Franckle and colleagues, including Christina Roberto, assess calorie estimation, particularly in high-calorie beverages, among adolescents and adults visiting fast-food restaurants. Previous research has shown that people eating at fast-food restaurants underestimate the caloric content of their purchases, but little is known about whether purchasing beverages affects calorie estimates. Because beverages are generally not the central focus of a meal and can be consumed quickly and with little effort, it is possible that people fail to...

Video Analysis of Factors Associated With Response Time to Physiologic Monitor Alarms in a Children’s Hospital

Jul. 11, 2017

Christopher P. Bonafide, A. Russell Localio, John H. Holmes, Vinay M. Nadkarni, Shannon Stemler, Matthew MacMurchy, Miriam Zander, Kathryn E. Roberts, Richard Lin, Ron Keren

In JAMA Pediatrics, Christopher Bonafide and colleagues, including John Holmes and Ron Keren, seek to identify factors associated with nurses' response time to physiologic monitor alarms at the bedside. As nurse response time to bed alarms remains slow, the authors examine patient- and nurse-related factors that affect responses to alarms. The authors video recorded 551 hours of care administered by 38 nurses to 100 children. They find several variables that shorten nurses’ response time to alarms. These include if the patient was on complex care service, if family members were...

Coercion or Caring: The Fundamental Paradox for Adherence Interventions for HIV+ People With Mental Illness

Jul. 3, 2017

Marlene M. Eisenberg, Michael Hennessy, Donna Coviello, Nancy Hanrahan, Michael B. Blank

In AIDS and Behavior, Marlene Eisenberg and colleagues, including Nancy Hanrahan and Michael Blank, examine if a high-intensity HIV-treatment intervention would be perceived as coercive by HIV-positive individuals with serious mental illness. Previous research has shown that potentially coercive mandates during the earliest stages of mental health treatment are associated with later treatment benefits. Furthermore, the prevalence of HIV is significantly higher among populations with mental illness. The authors developed an HIV management regimen that utilized advance practice...

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