Translating insights gained from behavioural science and behavioural economics.
Helping improve population health, system and services as well as health professions lifelong learning.
'The Behavioural Designers™' is a group of behavioural insights designers - initiated by the Health District.
This dedicated group uses methods from design and behavioural science to reframe problems as an opportunity for health care organizations, providing a platform for creative ideas.
Why the need?
More efforts are needed in health and social care to provide for services and initiatives that are co-created and integrated - requiring alignment of concepts, guidelines and frameworks - in order to measure and achieve shared values-based outcomes.
This requires an understanding and acceptance of person or people-centred design approach, incorporation of behavioural insights in developing policies and prioritizing concepts such as improved wellbeing, independence, social connectedness, choice and control.
‘Behavioural insights’ has been described as the ‘application of behavioural science to policy and practice.
It is about applying behavioural sciences to understand why and how people actually behave and make decisions, thereby designing policies and public services that are targeted towards better health care quality.
There are over 200 cognitive biases that have been documented in literature to date.
Knowledge of these biases is important when designing any intervention or policies in health for better outcomes.
'Nudges' - A behavioural Insights Tool.
'Nudges' are a particular type of behaviour change intervention that might be considered an expression of behavioural insights. Nudge-type interventions – approaches that steer people in certain directions while maintaining their freedom of choice – recognize that many decisions – and ensuing behaviours – are automatic and not made consciously.
Nudges have been proposed as an effective way to change behaviour and improve outcomes at lower cost than traditional tools across a range of policy areas.
With health care spending rising and the health systems facing a significant funding gap, it is important to consider ways of making health care more efficient and sustainable.
Applicability of behavioural insights to health.
Previous work done by behavioural scientists have identified that there are three main areas where a lack of understanding or attention to human behaviour has caused issues in the health sector.
Much of the rising global burden of disease arises from unhealthy behaviour. Yet people still struggle to change their behaviours – even if they have the awareness, intention and ability to do so. Why?
Health Systems & Health Care Providers.
Healthcare systems and services are often designed in ways that facilitate errors and inappropriate decision-making by health practitioners. Often the approach taken is that of “patch-up” work, rather than looking at the root causes and revisiting the service design as a whole. Why?
Health Care Policy and Decision Makers.
Existing policy processes may lead policy and decision makers to make suboptimal decisions – for example, by treating evidence in a biased or inconsistent way, or without pre-engagement with the stakeholders concerned. Why?
Knowledge of behavioural insights and its influence is increasing.
In recent years, governments around the world have begun to apply the findings from behavioral science in an explicit and sustained way.
Various governments have created dedicated behavioral science teams, including the United Kingdom (UK), United States (US), Australia and Singapore.
The UK’s Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) was set up in 2010 as the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioral sciences to mainstream policy.
In Canada, the provincial government in Ontario has also just started to experiment with application of behavioural sciences to policy decisions.
Despite these advances and the momentum created, it is clear that the vast potential of a behavioural insights approach is yet to be realized – particularly in health.
The role of enabling technology.
Technology can steer individual behaviours or drive change, impacting whole industries, cultures and societies. Technology has made it easier to track behavioural changes enabling unprecedented levels of insight into how these interactions take place.
The emergence of big data and machine learning and the ability to catalogue and detail behaviour will open up new kinds of insights and opportunities in research and the domain of decision making.
Translational behavioural economics.
Attempts to employ the concept of ‘appropriateness’ in health care are inevitable. Workable models towards sustainability of the health care ecosystem are a priority for most policy and decision makers.
The lack of assimilating behavioural insights in support of models for health care sustainability or appropriateness to date is truly a lost opportunity in realizing the alignment of a systems’ needs with societal values.
Health District will soon be releasing a Framework of Appropriateness in Health Care - @ppropriately™.
@appropriately™ framework has been designed incorporating the knowledge insights from behavioural sciences and applied behavioural economics.
Adoption of Behavioural insights to guide policies and decision making in health could have significant impact towards using the finite resources that can be spent on health systems in a responsible and appropriate manner.