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Behavioural Insights in Healthcare

Health, Psychology

Health care spending is rising and the NHS faces a funding gap of up to £30bn in the period to 2020. Therefore, making health care more sustainable by reducing inefficiency and waste is critical. Individual behaviour lies at the heart of this issue. Health care consumers’ behaviours are major determinants of their health, while health care providers’ behaviours are major determinants of whether the best and most appropriate care is delivered. However, the behaviours of both can be inconsistent with their intentions, leading to outcomes that could be improved.

It has been suggested that nudges – approaches that steer people in certain directions while maintaining their freedom of choice – might offer an effective way to change behaviour and improve outcomes at lower cost than traditional policy tools.

Nudges have been applied across a wide range of areas in the UK and globally. However, there is relatively little in the way of coverage of nudge-type behaviour change interventions to health care specifically and some uncertainty about how effective nudges are in bringing about desirable behaviour change.

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