• An Enormous Wasted Opportunity—Packaging

    Physician POV by on February 24th, 2017

    I can make almost any patient take their medication as directed. It isn’t hard, because I have a lot of close, interpersonal contact with my patients. That gives me the opportunity to use social pressures and a host of other psychological manipulations to encourage my patients to use their medications better and help them get […]

  • The Stars for Healthcare Partnerships are Aligning!

    Physician POV by on October 31st, 2016

    It doesn’t take a marketing and sales genius to know that your bottom line improves if you can improve patients’ adherence to treatment. Drugs work better when patients take them, and drugs that work better will sell better—not to mention adherence rates are directly proportional to refill rates or something very close to that. There’s […]

  • Framing Adherence

    Physician POV by on September 15th, 2016

    I tried the Bonobos shopping experience, looking to get a lightweight blazer for a planned trip to Malaysia and Thailand this summer. I learned from the Bonobos ninja (a shopping guide) about unconstructed jackets. There was a 100% wool version that seemed rather lightweight and appropriate. There was also a 100% cotton unconstructed jacket on […]

  • So You’re Saying There’s a Chance…

    Physician POV by on February 17th, 2016

    Lloyd Christmas: What do you think the chances are of a guy like you and a girl like me ending up together? Mary Swanson: Not good. Lloyd Christmas: You mean, not good like one out of a hundred? Mary Swanson: I’d say more like one out of a million. [pause] Lloyd Christmas: So you’re telling […]

  • The Identifiable Victim Effect

    Physician POV by on November 17th, 2015

    At the heart of our efforts to get patients to use their medication is the need to get them to act. The motivation to act is a complex human process that is fascinating to study and understand, rich with potential practical rewards. One particularly intriguing aspect of motivation that can be harnessed to promote better […]

  • Who’s Accountable for Adherence?

    Physician POV by on September 17th, 2015

    Some years ago, my whole approach to treating patients changed after a research colleague told me about MEMS caps, the Medication Electronic Monitoring System medicine bottle caps sold by Aardex (www.mwvaardex.com). I immediately asked my research fellow to incorporate the MEMS caps into a study we were doing of a treatment for psoriasis. The findings […]

  • Avoid Choice Paralysis—Become the Default Option

    Physician POV by on June 13th, 2015

    Psychologist Barry Schwartz gives a great TED lecture on “The Paradox of Choice.”1 He describes the ways in which our society generally considers choice and freedom to be uniformly positive goods, but he points out that too many choices can lead people to make bad decisions (an ironic curse of a wealthy society). Decisions, Decisions… […]

  • The Salience of Anecdote

    Physician POV by on March 16th, 2015

    As a physician, I received extensive training in all medically relevant areas of basic science, including extensive study of pharmacology and grounding in medical statistics. I know how to interpret statistical significance, relative risk and absolute benefit. I understand effect size and sample size. As new drugs are developed, my background enables me to evaluate […]

  • Sticker Charts and Behavior Change

    Physician POV by on January 23rd, 2015

    Human beings crave recognition. Giving people positive reinforcement for their actions is a powerful way to modify their behavior. Giving them visible, tangible positive reinforcement is all the more powerful. There’s an easy way to use this feature of human psychology to get patients to use their medication well: The sticker chart. The Lesson Of […]

  • Collaborate With Physicians (Part 2!)

    Physician POV by on November 22nd, 2014

    Piano manufacturers invest resources to make products that can bring music and joy into people’s lives. But to get kids to play piano well, creating wonderful musical instruments is only the first step. The major hurdle is getting kids to practice. There’s not much the piano manufacturer can do to get kids to practice. To […]

  • Collaborate With Physicians!

    Physician POV by on September 13th, 2014

    Pharmaceutical companies invest enormous resources and take enormous risks to make the products that can improve patients’ lives. But to get patients well, creating miraculous drugs is only the first step. Another major hurdle is getting patients to take the medication that their doctor has prescribed. Adherence As A Priority Everyone in the healthcare system […]

  • It Is All About Caring

    Physician POV by on July 11th, 2014

    Getting people to do things—like take their medicine—is a personal thing. Mechanical interactions—like beeps, buzzers and flashing lights—can only go so far in reminding people to use their medicine. There is growing realization that caring human-to-human interactions, or at least the perception of them, have a more powerful influence on people’s perceptions and actions. Checking […]

  • Putting Risk into Proper Perspective

    Physician POV by on May 13th, 2014

    A few years ago when my wife and I bought our home, we found it had high radon levels. Released as a breakdown product from uranium, it seeps from the ground into homes, is inhaled and can cause lung cancer. The whole idea of radon was terrifying, particularly the implications for our children. We had […]

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