Designing Effective Financial Incentives with Start-up Technologies to Induce Long Term Health Improvements

Iwan Barankay, Management, The Wharton School; Alison Buttenheim, Nursing, University of Pennsylvania; and Panagiota Stathopoulou, Oregon Health and Science University

Abstract: Numerous technological devices are coming to market that permit for end-user but also remote tracking of health related choices (exercise, medication adherence, weight loss etc.). These devices are transformative as they can be used to inform firms and legislators on how to design financial and non-financial incentives to induce healthy choices. According to a recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey about two-thirds of US companies offer financial incentives to employees for making healthier lifestyle choices. Despite these widely used incentives, little has been established on how to integrate these tracking technologies in conjunction with financial incentives to induce lasting health choice improvements. This project will collaborate with Beam Technologies, a start-up company from Louisville, KY, that brought to market a Bluetooth enabled toothbrush. Their brush will be used to study how to integrate this in a system of feedback and incentives to induce better health choices. The objective here is to test which of several approaches has the most lasting impact on behavior even after the end of financial incentives, i.e. this research attempts to establish how to induce habits with financial incentives.