Testing the impact of financial incentives in improving patients' use of recommended mammographies

The Foundation's initiative, Applying Behavioral Economics to Perplexing Problems in Health and Health care, was designed to: (1) apply the principles and frameworks of behavioral economics to uncover pioneering solutions to persistent and perplexing health and health care problems and (2) discover and test interventions that have breakthrough potential to transform the way health care is delivered and health is promoted and preserved.This grant supports a randomized, controlled trial of three types of financial incentives to test the hypothesis that such incentives will increase mammography rates among women who are overdue for screening. In this trial of 2,800 women overdue for a routine mammography in a health plan, the three financial incentives will be: (1) a $20 gift card; (2) a lottery-style chance for a larger-value item; or (3) a person-centered incentive: the patient's choice of the $20 gift card or the lottery chance. The women will also receive a letter reminding them of the screening; the control group will receive only the reminder. Afterward, the research team will conduct interviews of 24 subjects on their experience with the incentives. As deliverables, the team will submit findings to peer-reviewed journals and present them at two conferences, including one funded in-kind by its Institute for Behavioral Health.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $100,000.00

Awarded on: 3/14/2012

Time frame: 4/1/2012 - 9/30/2013

Grant Number: 69922


Brandeis University, The Heller School for Social Policy and Management

415 South Street
P.O. Box 549110
Waltham, 02454-9110


Dominic Hodgkin
Project Director


Elizabeth M. Merrick
Project Director