“How can we try to help patients prioritize their future health to a greater degree?” asks Patient Engagement Lead Advisor Kevin Volpp. For those who are facing a medical crisis, Snap Kitchen CEO David Kirchhoff, formerly of Weight Watchers, says that the health care system has “an obligation to be a leading voice to create that sense of urgency for the patient . . . however frustrating it might be when the patient doesn’t return having solved it.”
For those who are not in medical crisis but who lack the motivation to improve their health, environmental changes can have a major impact, says psychologist Wendy Wood. “Health care delivery needs to define itself more broadly, in part by changing some of the choices that are most available to people now.” These changes could include reorganizing cafeterias, creating bike share programs, or making driving a car more difficult, for example. “A lot of these things need to be done in tandem,” says Wood, “because we have some bad habits that need to be addressed as well as some good habits that we want people to form.”
From the NEJM Catalyst event Patient Engagement: Behavioral Strategies for Better Health at the University of Pennsylvania, February 25, 2016.