Thought Leader, Patient Engagement

David A. Asch, MD, MBA

Executive Director
Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation


David Asch is Executive Director of the Penn Medicine Center for Health Care Innovation. He is the John Morgan Professor at the Perelman School of Medicine and Professor of Health Care Management and Professor of Operations, Information and Decisions at the Wharton School.

Dr. Asch’s research aims to understand and improve how physicians and patients make medical choices in clinical, financial, and ethically charged settings, including the adoption of new pharmaceuticals or medical technologies, the purchase of insurance, and personal health behaviors. His research combines elements of economic analysis with psychological theory and marketing in the field now called behavioral economics. He is the author of more than 300 published papers.

He teaches health policy at the Wharton School and he practices internal medicine at the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center, where he created and from 2001 to 2012 directed the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion—the Department of Veterans Affairs’ national center to support vulnerable populations and reduce racial disparities.  From 1998 to 2012 he was Executive Director of the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.

He has received numerous awards for teaching, research, and innovation at the University of Pennsylvania and nationally. He is an elected member of the Association of American Physicians and the National Academy of Medicine (formerly, Institute of Medicine).

Dr. Asch received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, his MD from Weill-Cornell Medical College, and his MBA in Health Care Management and Decision Sciences from the Wharton School. He was a resident in Internal Medicine and a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania.

Patient Engagement

Engineering Social Incentives for Health

It’s important to engineer social engagements that promote health, but we must also test their acceptability and effectiveness.

Patient Engagement

When — and How — Can Incentives Actually Work?

Incentives can work if they’re designed a bit better.

David Asch and Niteesh Choudhry Panel Clip Still: Social Incentives vs. Privacy - Removing the Friction

Patient Engagement 2016

Social Incentives vs. Privacy: Removing the Friction

People are more willing to be social about their health than you might think.

Patient Engagement Panel Clip Still: Can—and Should—Benefit Design Be Standardized?

Patient Engagement 2016

Can—and Should—Benefit Design Be Standardized?

Our goal should be to offer the right services to the right patient at the right time.

Patient Engagement Panel Clip Still: Physician's Role in Improving Patient Behavior

Patient Engagement 2016

The Physician’s Role in Improving Patient Behavior

Where — and with whom — does the responsibility lie when it comes to elevating patient engagement?

Patient Engagement Panel Clip Still: Disruption in Hospital Health Care

Patient Engagement 2016

‘No App for That’: Disruption in Hospital Health

Is there an Uber in health care’s future?

David Asch Panel Clip Still: Making a Stand Against Hiring Smokers

Patient Engagement 2016

Making a Stand Against Hiring Smokers

It may be more common, but the controversy of ethics still stands.

Patient Engagement 2016

Asymmetric Thinking about Return on Investment

ROI has emerged as a popular metric in health care — usually to explain why providers lose money on chronic care — alongside more patient-centered, but expensive, metrics like survival. Health care financing must change to accommodate both measures.

David Asch Video Still: Benefit Design: Keep It Simple, Make It Social

Patient Engagement 2016

The Mind Is a High-Resistance Pathway

What behavioral reflexes can we build into behavioral strategies?

David Asch Video Still: Benefit Design: Keep It Simple, Make It Social

Patient Engagement 2016

Benefit Design: Keep It Simple, Make It Social

An incentive people can’t understand can’t work.

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