Active_Ingredient_imageIt is no secret that we humans aren’t always great at making rational decisions, especially when it comes to our health and well-being. Some recent analysis of consumer selection of health plans through exchanges suggests that free choice led to outcomes that were no better than random selection! Too often, we expect that if we provide consumers with all the information about their options, they will make a rational choice. We also know that traditional marketing tactics haven’t always driven the impact we’d hope for when it comes to helping consumers making healthier choices. We believe that while most tactics leverage rational and emotional drivers of behavior, they ignore established subconscious biases that can actually have a bigger influence on decision making.

ZS Associates has been working to incorporate cognitive science into our work to uncover deeper customer insights and levers for helping consumers make better health choices. We recently conducted a roundtable dinner featuring a distinguished panel of speakers and participants who have been using cognitive science to drive better health decision making. Our featured speakers emphasized that the next wave of solutions to challenges such as medication adherence and lifestyle change will need to deeply understand how people respond to subconscious triggers in addition to the rational and emotional drivers in order to drive better results.

Understanding how to help provide the right “nudges” and incentives can lead to powerful outcomes. Would you have guessed that changing who gives a gift certificate for smoking cessation aids from a spouse to a friend can increase the likelihood that the smoker will take action (we’ll pass on the opportunity to insert the obvious joke about nagging spouses here)? By leveraging cognitive science, we can enable consumers to make better choices for themselves, and help drive better population health too.

Sound interesting? We’ve written up some of the key takeaways from the dinner here for your reading enjoyment!

Topics: Hensley Evans, choices, consumer health care