May 2017
The Healthy Nudge
Welcome to LDI CHIBE's new monthly newsletter, The Healthy Nudge Each month, we'll get you up to speed on our latest developments in policy-relevant health behavioral economics research. Want more frequent updates? Follow us on Twitter @PennCHIBE and visit our new website.

Hardwiring Patient Engagement to Deliver Better Health

How can providers design and tailor systems that are individualized to each patient? How can health systems increase patient engagement rates? Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD and David Asch, MD, MBA explored these questions  at “Hardwiring Patient Engagement to Deliver Better Health,”  an event jointly hosted by NEJM Catalyst and Kaiser Permanente Southern California. 

Price Transparency in EHRs Doesn't Deter Doctors from Ordering Lab Tests

Research indicates that nearly one-third of lab tests are not needed. Hospitals nationwide are seeking ways to use price transparency – displaying the price of lab tests at the time when doctors are placing the order – to nudge doctors to consider whether the benefits are worth the cost. Results of a new study by Mitesh Patel, MD, MBA, MS, show that simply displaying the Medicare allowable fees did not have an overall impact on how clinicians ordered these tests.

Blog Spotlight
In The News
  • New York Times 
    How Behavioral Economics Can Produce Better Healthcare

  • VICE
    Doctors prescribe cheaper drugs when hospitals limit pharma-rep visits

  • Becker's Hospital Review 
    Doctors, patients more likely to approve flu vaccine when given electronic prompts

  • Penn Medicine News 
    Scott Halpern Honored with 2017 Translational Science Awards

  • Fierce Healthcare

  • Displaying lab test costs in electronic health records doesn’t deter doctors from ordering them

  • UPI 
    Strategies to limit sugary drinks could backfire

  • Voice of America 
    Do You Trust Information You Don't Want to Hear

  • HERO
    American Journal of Health Promotion Awards Mitesh Patel with Editor’s Pick 2016
Replacing the Affordable Care Act: Lessons from Behavioral Economics

In a recent JAMA Viewpoint, Kevin Volpp, MD, PhD joins Jonathan Skinner, PhD to discuss how applied principles of behavioral economics could help "ensure that insurance markets do not unravel" during ACA repeal and replace efforts.
Work-in-Progress Seminar : Daniella Meeker, PhD
05/25 @ 12
1104 Blockley Hall
Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California
 CHIBE Profile
Dr. Alison Buttenheim is an Associate Director at LDI CHIBE and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Health at the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her research addresses persistent problems in global maternal-child health through community-based behavior change interventions.  

How did you initially get involved in behavioral economics research with LDI CHIBE? What was your first project?

I was lucky enough to be finishing my postdoc at Penn and starting my faculty position when the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics was just taking off. It was a great training opportunity for me to get involved with projects related to behavioral change and public health. My first project was an intervention in Peru to encourage households to participate in an  indoor residual spray campaign to combat Chagas disease.   

Part of your current work focuses on vaccine acceptance. With the anti-vaccine movement on the rise, could you describe the ways in which you think behavioral economics interventions might increase vaccine acceptance among parents?  

Vaccine acceptance is a topic where behavioral insights can make a big difference. We can inform our policy interventions (e.g., the laws governing how parents can get exemptions from mandated school-entry immunizations) by thinking about social norms, defaults, and present bias.  Clinical interventions (e.g., how a health care provider counsels a vaccine-hesitant parent) can similarly be informed by creative approaches to framing, risk aversion, and information avoidance.   

What area of health care do you think holds untapped potential for behavioral economics solutions?

I’m part of a team at Penn led by Dr. Rinad Beidas that is thinking about how to apply behavioral economics to community mental health programs. The specific challenge here is incentivizing organizations and providers to use evidence-based mental health therapies. We’re designing studies to identify the best way to structure financial and non-financial incentives to improve patient outcomes. 

Your first behavioral economics project took place in Peru. What global health projects are currently on the horizon for you?

I’m involved in a study in Senegal on adolescent reproductive health outcomes, finishing up two studies in South Africa on healthy food shopping and safe driving, and moving into an exciting new phase of our ongoing work in Peru, bringing lessons on community participation from our Chagas disease work to a canine rabies outbreak.   

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