Oct 17, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by
Two years ago, my colleagues and I knew very little about how to use behavioral economics to improve health care decisions. Today, we know more. We also know how much there is to learn and do in this field.
That’s why we’re excited to announce six new grantees who will continue to build on the work we’ve funded over the last two years to apply principles from behavioral economics to challenges in health care.
The new grantees are as follows:
- Amber Barnato and Rebecca Sudore, University of Pittsburgh and University of California, San Francisco, Consumer-directed financial incentives to increase advance care planning among Medicaid beneficiaries
- Jeremiah Schuur, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Inc., Decision Fatigue in the Emergency Department and the Use of Hospital Services
- Jeffrey Kullgren, University of Michigan Medical School, Decreasing Overuse of Low-Value Health Care Services through Physician Precommitment
- Mark Vogel and Scott Halpern, Genesys Health System and University of Pennsylvania, BEACON - Behavioral Economics for Advanced Care OptioNs
- Richard Frank and Abigail Friedman, Harvard Medical School, Behavioral Experiments in Improving Medicare Coverage Choice
- Mark Schlesinger and Rachel Grob, Yale University and University of Wisconsin – Madison, Precommitment, Provider Choice, and Forgoing Low-Value Health Care
If you’re curious about why we’re funding these particular projects at this specific moment in time, read on.
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Aug 6, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by
Pioneer Blog Team
Welcome to the first episode of the Pioneering Ideas podcast. Get insight into the Pioneer funding strategy in a Q&A with Brian Quinn. Next, in a conversation about our recent Behavioral Economics Call for Problems (time stamp: 4:35), Interim Pioneer Team Director Lori Melichar and Drs. Kevin Volpp and David Asch, co-directors of the Foundation's Behavioral Economics Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania, talk about the pros and cons of making proposals public so ideas can spread. Then Harvard's Ted Kaptchuk, a Pioneer grantee, talks about the developing science of placebo studies (9:25). And Senior Program Officer Paul Tarini talks with Pioneer grantee Ben Heywood about how PatientsLikeMe could change medical practice and research (13:10). It's a stimulating mix of conversations, all of which offer a window into what, exactly, constitutes a pioneering idea. Listen now or download the episode:
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May 9, 2013, 8:00 AM, Posted by
As I prepared for a recent visit from the RWJF Board of Trustees, I reviewed our portfolio of grants that apply behavioral economics to perplexing health and health care challenges and reflected on what is pioneering about this batch.
These projects are all well-designed studies that, when completed, can inform policy development and result in behavior change. In the near future, policymakers, leaders of health care institutions, program officers, and clinicians will benefit from these nuanced findings about the applications of behavioral economics to health and health care.
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Mar 6, 2013, 6:58 PM, Posted by
To help those who want to respond to our recent Call for Proposals, Applying Behavioral Economics to Perplexing Health and Health Care Challenges, I sat down with Drs. Kevin Volpp and David Asch, co-directors of the Foundation’s Behavioral Economics Initiative at the University of Pennsylvania, to talk about low-value health care, why we are doing this CFP and what we are seeking from applicants.
Why are we doing this CFP now?
Kevin: There’s enormous concern about the growth in health care spending—both in the public and private sector. We can’t afford to keep increasing spending the way we have. But health care spending shouldn’t be defined as too high simply because it’s high. The question should be “How much value are we getting?” There is a widespread belief that there is too much health care that doesn’t provide value that’s commensurate with the costs—to individuals or to the government.
What’s particularly exciting is that, while health policy experts have acknowledged the problem of low-value health care for a long time, influential physician groups are becoming vocal about their belief that society would be better off — from both a quality and patient safety standpoint — if less of this care was provided. And they’re creating lists of health care services and procedures that they consider to be of low value that are available to the public.
Reducing use of low-value care is what’s going to be able to allow us to continue to fund high-value care for large portions of the American population.
What is low-value health care?
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Mar 4, 2013, 9:00 AM, Posted by
We have announced our second Call for Proposals in the field of behavioral economics. We’re actively seeking ideas that will help us to better understand how to discourage the consumption of low-value health services — those that provide more harm than benefit or which provide only marginal health benefits. In addition to improving health outcomes, this knowledge could contribute to lowering health care costs for us all.
Behavioral economics is an area of study by which I’ve personally grown increasingly intrigued and in which the Foundation has recently begun to invest. We all know, for example, that we need to exercise, eat right and be actively engaged in our own health care. But we don’t always do what we know we should do; knowing the “right” decision to make does not guarantee that we make that decision. The goal of behavioral economics is to uncover insights that could enable people to make better — more “rational” — choices for their health.
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