BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS IN HEALTH
Creating an environment that enables people to make healthy choices for themselves and their
families by better understanding how people make decisions
Busara capitalizes on the proven success of behavioral interventions in the healthcare space to develop a wide range of innovations:
• Encouraging healthy decisions
• Improving access to healthcare
• Influencing product and procedure selection
• Increasing vaccination take-up
• Improving testing rates
WHY HEALTHCARE MATTERS TO US
Extending access to quality medical services and preventative healthcare is critical to increasing general wellbeing, incomes, and economic opportunities. As the global population grows, it becomes even more important to guarantee that all members of society have access to healthcare and make effective use of these services.
Despite significant advances in medicine and healthcare delivery systems over the past decade, a substantial portion of the global population still lacks access or fails to take advantage of available opportunities. The reasons behind this gap often have a behavioral component. By understanding the core reasons why people are unwilling or unable to access available healthcare options, we can more effectively provide context-specific solutions.
At Busara, we specialize in understanding what behavioral roadblocks affect people and how to devise solutions to work around them. We use data and our knowledge of behavioral biases to overcome barriers preventing people from accessing healthcare, allowing us to customize solutions and create a lasting impact on individual and community health choices.
HOW BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS CAN HELP
Organizations and governments around the world have benefited from the power of behavioral interventions in improving healthcare outcomes.
INCENTIVES: IMMUNIZATION IN RURAL INDIA
A study in India examined the effects of incentives in increasing immunization rates in rural villages. Conventional thinking assumed that simply adding more clinics and increasing the overall supply of vaccines would result in a greater segment of the population being immunized. The study determined that this was not the case, nor was it cost effective. Instead, providing reliable clinics with social workers to educate citizens on the benefits of being immunized increase the immunization rate to 18%, versus just 6% with the conventional approach. More significantly, providing families with an incentive of lentils and metal meal plates to have their children immunized increased the immunization rate to an astounding 39%.
COMMITMENT DEVICES: SMOKING IN PHILIPPINES
As part of an effort to encourage citizens in the Philippines to quit smoking, smokers were offered a special savings account into which funds were deposited for six months. The funds were only released to the individual if they passed a nicotine test at the end of the six-month period. Funds were otherwise donated to charity. Smokers with the special bank account were 30-50% more likely to pass the nicotine test, compared to other smokers. More encouragingly, this effect persisted in a surprise nicotine test that was administered 12 months later.
DEFAULTS: SELECTING END-OF-LIFE CARE
Researchers examined how providing or not providing default options for end-of-life care impacted individual selection. Participants were offered three different options: a comfort default, a life-extending default, or no default. It was found that while most patients wanted the comfort-oriented care, the default option had a significant effect on patient’s choices.
Contact us to learn more about Busara’s work in health.