Shivan Mehta, MD, MBA
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Health Policy
University of Pennsylvania
Pragmatic Trials of Behavioral Economic Interventions to Increase Colorectal Cancer Screening
Behavioral economics; Colorectal cancer; Pragmatic clinical trials; Health technology; Communication modality; Informed consent
- Colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Increased rates of screening can reduce mortality from colorectal cancer by 30% to 70%.
- Use of behavioral economics can help us understand human motivation and behavior related to participating in clinical studies. How the message to patients is framed—and how choices are offered—can alter the response.
- In the example pragmatic trial, the “choice architecture” for the colorectal cancer screening was designed by the study team in collaboration with health system stakeholders and clinical operations. Changing the framing from opt in to opt out had the effect of increasing participation in screening.
In some settings, choice overload can have a negative effect on participation.
When designing embedded pragmatic trials, researchers must be mindful not to increase burden on clinicians’ workflow.
While behavioral economics offers suggestions for how to increase colorectal cancer screening rates, its effectiveness in different contexts needs to be evaluated.
Read more about Dr. Mehta and colleagues’ study in Effect of Sequential or Active Choice for Colorectal Cancer Screening Outreach: A Randomized Clinical Trial (JAMA Network Open, 2019).
#pctGR, @Collaboratory1, @Shivan_Mehta