Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Carrots and sticks to promote a healthy lifestyle?

17.09.2008
New study assesses patients' opinion of paying people to quit smoking, lose weight or control their blood pressure and diabetes

When it comes to deciding whether paying people to make healthier lifestyle changes is a good thing, it seems patient opinion is split right down the middle.

Unsurprisingly perhaps, those who smoke and are overweight are its greatest advocates. This is the finding of a study1 by Judith Long and her colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine to be published in the October issue of the Springer publication, Journal of General Internal Medicine.

In an effort to stem the tide of rising healthcare costs, 'Pay for Performance for Patients' (P4P4P) schemes have been gaining popularity in the US and worldwide. The theory goes that the modest payments to patients are more than made up for by long-term savings in healthcare costs if the payments result in lifestyle changes, such as giving up smoking or maintaining a lower body weight. Much of the argument against them revolves around this very point - whether these payments actually do result in a change in behavior. Studies thus far have been mixed with some showing no improvement in care or outcome and others being relatively successful.

Long and colleagues conducted a survey of 515 patients in waiting rooms in primary care practices. In this first survey of patient opinion of P4P4P, they found the respondents were split almost 50/50 as to whether it was a good or bad idea. Overall, smokers and obese individuals thought that paying for lifestyle change was a good idea, that it would lower everyone's healthcare costs and that it may be the only effective way to bring about lifestyle change. The authors attribute this to their difficulties in the past trying to change the behavior in question whereas individuals without these problems have no idea of the difficulties involved and cannot therefore see the point of incentives.

In addition, the authors found the responses received to some questions were very much based on how the questions were worded. For example, when questioned about health insurance and P4P4P, all respondents were keen on incentives which rewarded individuals for good health behavior but not keen on those that were seen as punishments, e.g. they thought it was a good idea to give lower premiums to non-smokers but not to charge higher premiums to smokers in an effort to get them to stop smoking. In effect, this is one and the same thing but this finding has dramatic consequences for the planning of future initiatives.

This unique survey therefore has important implications for companies thinking about financial incentives for healthy behaviors as well as insurers and policy makers considering its widespread use. The authors conclude that 'given the prevalence of unhealthy behaviors in the US population, serious consideration needs to be given to any approach that may effectively motivate improvements in the rate of healthy behavior.' For the moment, further evidence of effectiveness and cost effectiveness is required as this may lead to wider support for these programs and their efficient targeting.

Joan Robinson | alfa
Further information:
http://www.springer.com

Further reports about: Diabetes P4P4P blood pressure lose weight non-smokers quit smoking

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator
23.02.2018 | University of Turku

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>