Patient Engagement
Clip
Drawing the Line Between Paternalism and Patient-Centered Care (04:17)

Where do we draw the line between improving people’s health behavior in the direction that we want, versus leaving them happy with what they have? Kevin Volpp, Director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania, David Kirchhoff, CEO of Snap Kitchen and former CEO of Weight Watchers, and Wendy Wood, Provost Professor of Psychology and Business at the University of Southern California, discuss how much providers should let patients drive what happens (patient-centered care), and when it might make sense to be more paternalistic.

If a patient makes a well-reasoned, well-informed decision not to change an unhealthy behavior, maybe we shouldn’t push that person, suggests Volpp. On the other hand, for patients who are dangerously at risk, Kirchhoff argues that clinicians can’t shy away from a serious discussion. “You cannot say it’s OK, to just blow it off,” says Kirchhoff. “I don’t know how as a doctor you’re doing your job if you step away from that responsibility.” Wood points to the amount of data on lifestyle behaviors and what diseases are linked to them. We need tax and social policies that are more closely aligned to these data, she says, and the conversation with health care providers should reflect that.

From the NEJM Catalyst event Patient Engagement: Behavioral Strategies for Better Health at the University of Pennsylvania, February 25, 2016.

More From Patient Engagement
Example Cost of Custom-Built PRO Collection Platform

The Cost of Patient-Reported Outcomes in Medicine

Implementation of routine PRO collection is paramount to measuring and maximizing value in health care.

Mentoring, Education, and Engagement: An Employee Training Technique to Improve Patient Experience and Employee Satisfaction

How open communication and one-to-one mentoring generated team spirit and a learning environment.

Face-to-Face Group Sessions Are the Most Useful Mode of Communication in Health Social Networks

Survey Snapshot: Patient Networks Are Important for Outcomes

NEJM Catalyst Insights Council members overwhelmingly agree that social networks can impact chronic diseases and healthy behaviors, but time commitment and funding prevent their prevalence.

Consumerism in Health Care

Will personalized interventions transform how we improve an individual’s health? A frequent-flier expert believes that it will.

Chronic Disease Management and Healthy Behavior Promotion Are the Best Uses of Health Social Networks

Patient Engagement Survey: Social Networks to Improve Patient Health

Social networks — both face-to-face and virtual — have been shown to positively impact behaviors such as weight loss and smoking cessation. Is the health care industry ready to more widely leverage this mechanism for increasing healthy behaviors among patients?

Patient Inducements — High Graft or High Value?

Can health care be more like Uber and Lyft?

Consumer Engagement: New Tools and Capabilities for Health System Marketing

Novant Health is using research and data analytics to identify and engage new consumers, develop more relevant products and services, and support its mission and brand promise.

The Patient as Consumer and the Measurement of Bedside Manner

Many physicians do not believe patient satisfaction is a legitimate pursuit. Yet they must meet consumers of health care where they are — on Internet ratings sites.

Halpern02_clip_still: A/B Testing Health Behavior Interventions

A/B Testing Health Behavior

Health care can’t implement changes overnight like Silicon Valley, but we can still learn from their version of treatment and control.

Analysis of health care utilization cost and patient functioning in PCIC social interventions_new

Social Interventions Can Lower Costs and Improve Outcomes

We can better serve our under-resourced patients by helping them access treatments and social interventions we already know to be effective.

Connect

A weekly email newsletter featuring the latest actionable ideas and practical innovations from NEJM Catalyst.

Learn More »

Topics

Patients As Customers

96 Articles

Consistently High Turnover in the Group…

Despite the myth of frequent fliers in high-cost health care, most of the top 5%…

Patient-Centered Care

193 Articles

The Cost of Patient-Reported Outcomes in…

Implementation of routine PRO collection is paramount to measuring and maximizing value in health care.

Patient Incentives

56 Articles

Survey Snapshot: Patient Networks Are Important…

NEJM Catalyst Insights Council members overwhelmingly agree that social networks can impact chronic diseases and…

Insights Council

Have a voice. Join other health care leaders effecting change, shaping tomorrow.

Apply Now