Encouraging Mammograms Using Behavioral Economics: A Randomized Controlled Trial in Chile

Oct 1, 2021, 00:00 AM
Section Order : 1463
First Page : 1463


This article illustrates the effect of a direct mail campaign that used insights from behavioral economics and psychology to increase the number of free mammograms in Chilean women aged 50 years or older.


We hypothesized 4 barriers in obtaining a mammogram based on previous literature and focus group analysis. A behavioral economic approach providing incentives was used to help overcome these barriers. We accessed a unique data set, which comprised 12 000 women 50 years old or older, with private health insurance who have not had a mammogram for 24 or more months. We conducted a randomized controlled trial with 8 treatments, each involving a specific combination of messages.


The intervention overall led to a 167% increase in the use of free mammograms, a 1.13% to 3.03% average increase from the control to treatment groups, respectively. Regarding barriers, we found that all messages were effective, with a slightly larger and persistent effect for the less complex ones in terms of information. This finding illustrates the benefits of keeping the message simple.


Finally, these results suggest a successful public policy for increasing use of free mammography programs. Moreover, they are potentially transferable because the study considered decision-making heuristics that are not specific to one culture or social context.

HEOR Topics :
  • Clinical Trials
  • Diagnostics & Imaging
  • Medical Technologies
  • Patient Behavior and Incentives
  • Patient-Centered Research
  • Retrospective Databases: Electronic Medical and Health Records, Admin Claims
  • Study Approaches
Tags :
  • barriers to screening
  • behavioral economics
  • mammography
  • women’s health
Regions :
  • Latin America