Fast Takes: News & Trend Lines, April 2013

April 1, 2013

Most physicians favor financial incentives for changing consumer health behavior

According to a new Deloitte survey, 71 percent of U.S. doctors believe that if incentives were widely intro­duced to motivate consumers to engage in healthy behaviors, such incentives as direct payments, reduced insurance premiums, and lower co-pays might work best. Less powerful motivators were rewards, perks, and points, named by 45 percent of physicians. Coaching (in person or online) or using patient navi­gators was identified by 28 percent of the doctors. Twenty-four percent of physicians noted the use of employers acting as influencers or change agents. The use of social networking and games to build a peer support community was named by 13 percent. How­ever, 20 percent of physicians doubted that any of these incentives would make a difference in achieving a long-standing improvement in health status.

Fairly uniform in their response irrespective of age, gender, or medical specialty, 82 percent of physicians believe that unhealthy lifestyles have a major influence on the overall cost of health care. These findings come from a wider survey about health care reform and the future of the medical profession that was completed last year by 613 physicians.

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