On NPR’s Health News, PRC Director, Kevin Volpp, MD, discussed new strategies for changing health behaviors.
Volpp suggests that “commitment contracts” produce better results than traditional workplace rewards programs when it comes to tying financial incentives to goals. Reward programs usually offer a lump payment at the end of a full year. Commitment contracts involve an upfront investment which participants recoup if they meet self-designed goals and forfeit if they do not. Volpp and colleagues at the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics have found that short-term goals are more successful than long-term, when it comes to health behavior changes, and that immediate financial loss has greater impact than far-in-the-future financial gain.