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Patient Prefer Adherence. 2014 Oct 29;8:1503-12. doi: 10.2147/PPA.S71224. eCollection 2014.

Helping patients make better decisions: how to apply behavioral economics in clinical practice.

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College of Nursing, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA.
College of Business, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX, USA.


Clinicians are committed to effectively educating patients and helping them to make sound decisions concerning their own health care. However, how do clinicians determine what is effective education? How do they present information clearly and in a manner that patients understand and can use to make informed decisions? Behavioral economics (BE) is a subfield of economics that can assist clinicians to better understand how individuals actually make decisions. BE research can help guide interactions with patients so that information is presented and discussed in a more deliberate and impactful way. We can be more effective providers of care when we understand the factors that influence how our patients make decisions, factors of which we may have been largely unaware. BE research that focuses on health care and medical decision making is becoming more widely known, and what has been reported suggests that BE interventions can be effective in the medical realm. The purpose of this article is to provide clinicians with an overview of BE decision science and derived practice strategies to promote more effective behavior change in patients.


commitment devices; defaults; health care; incentives; message framing; nursing; social norms

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