Paderborn, Germany – Using principles from behavioral economics to model patient decisions, innovative research published in Value in Health proposes a framework to understand the reasons for treatment non-persistence and predicts the point at which a patient will stop taking their medication. This information could contribute to the development of tailored intervention solutions to ensure the patient stays on track and continues taking their medicine as prescribed.

The conceptual model described in the article, “Conceptual Model and Economic Experiments to Explain Non-persistence and Enable Mechanism Designs Fostering Behavioral Change,” bridges the economic principles of loss aversion and mental accounting with health behavior. The model highlights that a point exists where a patient feels that they have been adequately compensated for their perceived losses, such as effort to travel to see their doctor, or loss of day at work because of ill health. It is at this point that they will stop taking their medicine and thus the benefit of persistence is no longer greater than non-persistence.

“This research will equip health care professionals with a way to generate insights on patient persistence behaviors. The incorporation of this intelligence into existing strategies could lead to more sophisticated, personalized tools that work towards maintaining treatment compliance.” said co-author Prof. Dr. René Fahr, PhD, from the University of Paderborn in Paderborn, Germany.

Whereas previous research has limitations in its focus solely on rational choice behavior or retrospective identification of correlations between behaviors and discontinuation, this conceptual model is prospective, scalable and can be calibrated. In practice, it may therefore result in better health outcomes for patients and a reduction in costs through more efficient health care delivery.

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