Patient Engagement
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Why Are We Blind to Behavior Change Barriers? (03:59)

David Laibson, Harvard University Chair of the Department of Economics, and Punam Keller, Dartmouth College Tuck School of Business Associate Dean for Innovation and Growth, discuss some of the obstacles preventing health care providers from seeing greater success in knocking down barriers to behavior change.

We need to move past the assumption that giving people information is enough for them to make the right choice, says Laibson. There is also a tendency to spot and focus on only one barrier when in fact there may be many. “It’s about pausing, stepping back, and working harder in the beginning to identify all the problems,” says Laibson, “and then building an intervention that is more universal, less partial, and is much more likely to be successful.”

Another challenge, adds Keller, is a lack of focus on service excellence. Focusing on treatment rather than prevention, for example, creates a system that does not place enough emphasis on the patient or customer. Service excellence models have three major components, explains Keller: patient or customer management, employee management, and service delivery or operation. Because services are provided and consumed simultaneously, it’s important to have a strategy that incorporates all three.

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

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