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Carrots? Sticks? Big Carrots? Big Sticks?

May 10, 2010
Posted by Georgia Relich

This article from Modern Healthcare is fabulous.  It discusses behavioral economics and choice architecture (the latest in the marketing world) in health reform.  Lots of good anecdotes and case studies illustrate how we can be incentivized to behave in certain ways.  While it could be perceived as psychological manipulation, the article talks about the fine line difference between “nanny” state and mentoring and choice architecture, where sets of options and choices are presented.  The case study on Lowe’s and their attempt at converting employees to home delivery on maintenance prescriptions, the “carrot, carrot, stick, big stick” methodology, is backed up with hard data and statistics.

Because of our work with a client who works with pharma manufacturers to maximize drug launches and uptake (which entails keeping patients compliant), I was most fascinated with information related to compliance: “Individual behavior related to prescription drugs, such as forgetfulness and procrastination, costs $163 billion annually in wasteful spending, according to Express Scripts. The company says it has saved clients $790 million by using behavior-changing tools to get people to switch to generic and lower-cost drug equivalents.”

Interesting stuff.

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