Research Roundup

New Research Highlights

Section Editor: George Papadopoulos, Emerald Corporate Group Pty Ltd, Sydney, Australia

Traditionally, approaches to consumer behavior have been influenced by standard economic theory and models. These are based on the assumption of human rationality. Behavioral economics draws on psychology and the behavioral sciences in assessing consumer behavior. This approach postulates that consumers are subject to a range of psychological biases and use various heuristics such as rules-of-thumb, or educated guesses, when making choices.  More simply stated, behavioral economics applies economic and psychological principles to overcome barriers to behavior change.

We have identified 4 research papers that encapsulate these characteristics and are worth reading. We, as always, trust you enjoy delving into the research area of behavioural economics and look forward to highlighting new research in the next edition.

Behavioral Experiments in Health Economics

Galizzi M M,  Wiesen D.

Oxford Research Encyclopedia, Economics and Finance.
Oxford Univ. Press.2018; http://dx.doi.org/doi/10.1093/acrefore/9780190625979.013.244. Accessed July 9, 2020


The state-of-the-art literature at the interface between experimental and behavioral economics and health economics is reviewed by identifying and discussing 10 areas of potential debate about behavioral experiments in health. The authors review these areas by posing 10 questions to explore these areas and then answer these questions systematically, in a very thorough manner and well referenced.

By using this framework, the authors review the different streams and areas of application of the field of behavioral experiments in health by discussing which significant questions remain to be discussed, and by highlighting the rationale and the scope for the further development of behavioral experiments in health in the years to come.


A long read to begin the research round-up, but the paper reviews the state of the art of behavioral experiments in health by critically discussing the 10 key areas of potential debate and misconception by highlighting their theoretical and empirical rationale and scope, and by discussing the significant questions that remain.

Using Behavioral Economics to Encourage Parent Behavior Change: Opportunities to Improve Clinical Effectiveness

Jenssen B P, Buttenheim A M, Fiks A G.

Acad Pediatr. 2019;19(1): 4–10.

Accessed July 9, 2020


Pediatric clinical practice often involves improving child health by changing parents’ behavior. The application of these approaches to parent behavior change in pediatric settings has the potential to improve the clinical effectiveness of child healthcare. The authors review the foundational concepts of behavioral economics and identify the unique role of pediatricians in motivating parent behavior change. The authors highlight 4 key behavioral economics strategies that may now be applied more broadly in clinical practice to promote parent behavior change and to support parent decision making to improve child health. The 4 key strategies in practice are message framing; the use of defaults; enhanced active choice; and leveraging social forces.


Leveraging behavioral economic principles around parental decision making has the potential to enhance program effectiveness and improve patient and family health.

User-Centered Development of a Behavioral Economics Inspired Electronic Health Record Clinical Decision Support Module

Chokshi S K,Troxel A, Belli H, et al.

Stud Health Technol Inform. 2019;264:155–1158.

http://dx.doi.org/10.3233/SHTI190407. Accessed July 9, 2020


Changing ingrained physician behaviors is difficult and integrating behavioral economic strategies into electronic health records using various clinical decision support tools is a novel approach to improving guideline adherence that also seeks to minimize negative impacts on clinical workflow and cognitive load. This study employed a pragmatic, with an emphasis on real-world clinical workflows, a user-centered approach to develop a new behavioral economics-inspired clinical decision support module to improve provider adherence to guideline targeting over-treatment among older adults with diabetes. The resulting behavioral economics-electronic health records module established a platform for exploring the ability of behavioral economics concepts embedded within the electronic health records to affect guideline adherence for Choosing Wisely target areas.


The resulting behavioral economics-electronic health records module establishes a platform for exploring the ability of behavioral economics concepts embedded within the electronic health record to affect guideline adherence for other Choosing Wisely target areas. This represents an interesting and new channel for influencing provider behavior through less cognitively burdensome methods. Evidence and lessons learned from this study can potentially inform the design, testing, and implementation of similar interventions for other target conditions.

Behavioral Economics Interventions in Clinical Decision Support System

Insook Cho I, Bates D W.

Yearb Med Inform 2018:114-21. http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/ s-0038-1641221. Accessed July 9, 2020


Clinical decision support systems can improve safety and facilitate evidence-based practice. However, clinical decisions are often affected by the cognitive biases and heuristics of clinicians, which is increasing the interest in behavioral and cognitive science approaches in the medical field.  The authors found the following 5 behavioral economics concepts have frequently been considered in clinical decision support studies: social norms, framing effect, status-quo bias, heuristics, and overconfidence bias.  The authors introduce applications and example studies related to each concept.


The authors revealed that the use of behavioral economics techniques is increasing in areas such as antibiotics prescribing and preventive care.  Clinical decision support systems have the potential to change the way medicine is taught, since responding to them well will become a key skill.
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