Can Behavioral Tech Help Save the Healthcare Crisis?

Discussions about health insurance reform have recently occupied brilliant minds around the world. Last month, Ting Jiang, Principal of the global team, gave a talk about the role of behavioral technology in health insurance innovation and reform at the China International Health Insurance & Health Financing Innovation Forum in Shanghai. Ting described behavioral tech as akin to financial technology (fintech), which refers to new technology that seeks to improve and automate financial services. “Behavioral tech,” on the other hand, can be used to refer to new technology that improves and automates human participation (i.e., behavioral uptake) in products, services and programs.

She boldly stated that systematic application of behavioral tech could be the next breakthrough of innovation in healthcare, and an opportunity that one should not miss. She pointed out that the emphasis of any public debate so far is too much on how is paying and how to increase the ability to pay, and too little on how to reduce cost, by also policies and infrastructural supports to promote health. The cumulative cost of chronic disease in middle- and low-income countries is expected to increase to $11.2 trillion by 2030 – slightly more than half of the US’s 2018 GDP. Speeding up the development of new medicines and medical treatment needs to go hand in hand with the development of behavioral treatment to curb the rapid increase of chronic diseases caused mainly by lifestyle choices. In other words, unlocking human potential to prevent unnecessary illness instances can and will help save the healthcare crisis.

For more on behavioral tech and product examples of behavioral tech created by our own lab, be on the lookout for Ting’s blogpost in our next month’s newsletter. And if you think behavioral uptake is one of your core challenges, get in touch with one of the CAH principals! There’s a chance we could help you apply behavioral tech to solve your problem.

 

Ting Jiang is Principal of Global at the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University, an applied behavioral science research lab that helps people be happier, healthier, and wealthier. You can reach her at t.jiang@duke.edu

Ciara Lutz is a researcher at the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University, an applied behavioral science research lab that helps people be happier, healthier, and wealthier. You can reach her at ciara.lutz@duke.edu