Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 770–777 | Cite as

Financial Incentives for Home-Based Health Monitoring: A Randomized Controlled Trial

  • Aditi P. SenEmail author
  • Taylor B. Sewell
  • E. Brooks Riley
  • Beth Stearman
  • Scarlett L. Bellamy
  • Michelle F. Hu
  • Yuanyuan Tao
  • Jingsan Zhu
  • James D. Park
  • George Loewenstein
  • David A. Asch
  • Kevin G. Volpp
Original Research



Home wireless device monitoring could play an important role in improving the health of patients with poorly controlled chronic diseases, but daily engagement rates among these patients may be low.


To test the effectiveness of two different magnitudes of financial incentives for improving adherence to remote-monitoring regimens among patients with poorly controlled diabetes.


Randomized, controlled trial. ( Identifier: NCT01282957).


Seventy-five patients with a hemoglobin A1c greater than or equal to 7.5 % recruited from a Primary Care Medical Home practice at the University of Pennsylvania Health System.


Twelve weeks of daily home-monitoring of blood glucose, blood pressure, and weight (control group; n = 28); a lottery incentive with expected daily value of $2.80 (n = 26) for daily monitoring; and a lottery incentive with expected daily value of $1.40 (n = 21) for daily monitoring.


Daily use of three home-monitoring devices during the three-month intervention (primary outcome) and during the three-month follow-up period and change in A1c over the intervention period (secondary outcomes).


Incentive arm participants used devices on a higher proportion of days relative to control (81 % low incentive vs. 58 %, P = 0.007; 77 % high incentive vs. 58 %, P = 0.02) during the three-month intervention period. There was no difference in adherence between the two incentive arms (P = 0.58). When incentives were removed, adherence in the high incentive arm declined while remaining relatively high in the low incentive arm. In month 6, the low incentive arm had an adherence rate of 62 % compared to 35 % in the high incentive arm (P = 0.015) and 27 % in the control group (P = 0.002).


A daily lottery incentive worth $1.40 per day improved monitoring rates relative to control and had significantly better efficacy once incentives were removed than a higher incentive.


chronic disease health information technology health behavior disease management adherence 




We thank Paula Gray, MSN, CRNP and Amanda Parent, MSN, CRNP for their participation in and support of this study.


This work was supported by grants RC2AG036592 and P30AG034546 from the National Institute on Aging.

Prior presentations

We presented an earlier version of this paper on a research panel at AcademyHealth’s 2013 Annual Research Meeting in Baltimore, MD in June, 2013.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest. Drs. Asch, Loewenstein, and Volpp have served as consultants for VAL Health, and Drs. Loewenstein and Volpp have served as consultants for CVS Caremark. Dr. Volpp has also received research funding from Weight Watchers, CVS Caremark, Humana, Horizon BCBS, and McKinsey, none of which is directly related to the subject of this study. Dr. Loewenstein has also received research funding from CVS Caremark and Humana. The other authors (Sen, Sewell, Riley, Stearman, Bellamy, Hu, Park, Tao, and Zhu) have no financial disclosures or other conflicts of interest to report.


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Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aditi P. Sen
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Taylor B. Sewell
    • 2
    • 3
  • E. Brooks Riley
    • 3
  • Beth Stearman
    • 1
    • 4
  • Scarlett L. Bellamy
    • 5
  • Michelle F. Hu
    • 3
  • Yuanyuan Tao
    • 1
    • 3
  • Jingsan Zhu
    • 1
    • 3
  • James D. Park
    • 3
    • 6
  • George Loewenstein
    • 1
    • 7
  • David A. Asch
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 8
  • Kevin G. Volpp
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 8
  1. 1.Penn CMU Roybal P30 Center in Behavioral Economics and Health and Leonard Davis Institute Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral EconomicsPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Department of Health Care ManagementThe Wharton School of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of MedicinePerelman School of Medicine at the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Abramson Cancer Center of the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biostatistics and EpidemiologyPerelman School of Medicine at the University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  6. 6.Rutgers, Robert Wood Johnson Medical SchoolCamdenUSA
  7. 7.Department of Social and Decision SciencesCarnegie Mellon UniversityPittsburghUSA
  8. 8.Center for Health Equity Research and PromotionPhiladelphia Veterans Affairs Medical CenterPhiladelphiaUSA

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