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Acad Pediatr. 2019 Jan - Feb;19(1):4-10. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2018.08.010. Epub 2018 Aug 30.

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

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and PolicyLab and the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (BP Jenssen and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa. Electronic address: jenssenb@email.chop.edu.
2
Department of Family and Community Health, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, and Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (AM Buttenheim), University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pa.
3
Department of Pediatrics, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and PolicyLab and the Center for Pediatric Clinical Effectiveness, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (BP Jenssen and AG Fiks), Philadelphia, Pa.

Abstract

Pediatric clinical practice often involves improving child health by changing parents' behavior. Strategies from behavioral economics-a field that leverages predictable patterns in human decision making to overcome barriers to behavior change-can improve health outcomes in adults. Although more research is needed, the application of these approaches to parent behavior change in pediatric settings has the potential to improve the clinical effectiveness of child health care. We review the foundational concepts of behavioral economics and identify the unique role of pediatricians in motivating parent behavior change. We then discuss how to apply 4 key strategies in practice-message framing, use of defaults, enhanced active choice, and harnessing social forces-to support parent decision making to improve child health. Leveraging behavioral economic principles around parental decision making has the potential to supercharge program effectiveness and improve patient and family health.

KEYWORDS:

behavioral economics; defaults; parent behavior change

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