Do financial incentives boost medication adherence, outcomes?

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Do financial incentives boost medication adherence, outcomes?

cbaker_admin
Fri, 10/16/2020 – 15:30

A study published in JAMA Network Open suggests that financial incentives may encourage medication adherence but do not always result in better health outcomes. Researchers at Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania divided about 600 patients at risk for cardiovascular disease into four groups, three of which received one of three incentive intervention options. A “sweepstakes” group received incentives for daily adherence, while a “deadline sweepstakes” group received incentives that became smaller if patients only took their medication after a reminder. The third group, “sweepstakes plus deposit,” received incentives in conjunction with daily adherence and a monthly deposit that became smaller the more days they were not adherent. The researchers reported that all three interventions yielded better medication adherence than the control group and yielded similarly successful results. However, the gains in medication adherence had little effect on health outcomes, with nearly every group seeing decreases in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) of about 33-36 mg/dL. The researchers pointed out they intentionally sought out individuals with high LDL for their study, and the improvements could be attributed to other patient engagement strategies. The researchers concluded, “Taken together, these observations suggest that although financial incentives did not reduce LDL-C levels in this population of patients, financial incentives could still be a useful intervention for patients with lower degrees of health engagement who do not use or have access to primary care.”