Progressions 2012 - Health care everywhere

Nudging patient behavior

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To help patients adopt healthy lifestyles, companies can use behavioral economics levers through technologies, social networks, gamification and contracts.

Getting patients to adopt healthy behaviors represents a tremendous economic opportunity for life sciences companies and health care systems.

However, this has been extremely difficult to accomplish despite patients' best intentions.

Behavioral economics demonstrates that the reason people fail to make behavioral changes is that they have predictable biases that affect decision making.

Leveraging the science of behavioral economics to understand human biases allows companies to construct incentives and create products/services that are far more likely to succeed.

To help patients adopt healthy lifestyles, companies can use behavioral economics levers through technologies, social networks, gamification and contracts. A number of pilots and start-ups have creatively combined multiple behavioral levers to achieve significant improvements in household savings, drug adherence, weight loss and exercise.

To help patients process information in areas where there is considerable uncertainty and an overabundance of data, companies need to focus on communicating in clear and neutral ways. Individual preferences will need to be kept in mind, instead of aiming for a one-size-fits-all solution.

We offer five guiding principles for companies in the behavioral change business:

  1. Communicate clearly. Empower patients to make better decisions with relevant, concise, neutrally framed information.
  2. Account for individuals' preferences with customer segmentation, mass customization and more.
  3. Learn from behavioral economics —a field that has actionable insights on the behavioral levers that actually motivate patients.
  4. Experiment and be flexible. There’s much to learn about patient behavior, but companies have a trove of information in their customers. There's much to learn about patient behavior, but companies have a trove of information in their customers.
  5. Extend your business model with more patient-centric value propositions and enduring relationships with customers.



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