Humana taps into behavioral economics to improve medication adherence

A call from a celebrity about the importance of medication adherence may be more effective than one from a physician--at least that’s what Humana has found as part of an initiative that explores the use of behavioral economics to improve wellness.

Equipped with the knowledge that, in general, people make bad decisions even when they know those decisions are harmful, Humana is testing out new ways to change patient behavior when it comes to health habits, according to Insider Louisville.

Recently the company discovered that customers responded better to calls from their pharmacist and celebrities like “The Brady Bunch” actress Florence Henderson reminding them to take medication as prescribed. In another experiment, Humana discovered that synchronizing prescription refills led to improved adherence for patients taking multiple medications.  

Previously, insurers have used financial incentives as a primary motivator for improving wellness, but studies show that approach doesn’t always work. By using behavioral economics, Humana accounts for other psychological and emotional factors that could be more effective in steering patients in the right direction.

Elsewhere, Humana is partnering with digital innovators to pinpoint effective ways of connecting patients with providers, according to WCPO-TV in Cincinnati. In partnership with Cincinnati-based Spry Labs, Humana will host a “data jam” this week in which participants compete to create the most innovative solution.