Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 27, Issue 11, pp 1544–1547 | Cite as

Leveraging Insights from Behavioral Economics to Increase the Value of Health-Care Service Provision

  • Mitesh S. Patel
  • Kevin G. Volpp


United States health expenditures continue to escalate at unsustainable rates. A recent movement around increasing price transparency has been suggested as a way of reducing the rate of increase in expenditures, with legislative efforts taking place at both the state and federal level. While this seems on the surface like a good idea, simply providing information on prices to physicians, particularly trainees, may not achieve the type of large changes in practice patterns that proponents expect. The manner in which price transparency is implemented will likely play a significant role in its effectiveness as an intervention. In this article, the authors review efforts of transparency and default options from other contexts and leverage insights from behavioral economics to provide recommendations for increasing the likelihood that price transparency will lead to physicians weighing the relative value of interventions.


health-care costs health-care value restaurant food labeling asymmetric paternalism nudges 



The authors have no funding sources to report.

Conflict of Interest

Dr. Mitesh Patel declares he has no conflicts of interest. He discloses being the co-founder of Docphin Inc.

Dr. Kevin Volpp declares he has no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of MedicineHospital of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Center for Health Equity Research and PromotionPhiladelphia VA Medical CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral EconomicsThe Leonard Davis Institute of Health EconomicsPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Penn CMU Roybal P30 Center on Behavioral Economics and HealthPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.The Wharton SchoolUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.Perelman School of MedicineUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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