Nudge-type interventions – approaches that steer people in certain directions while maintaining their freedom of choice – recognize that many decisions and ensuing behaviors are automatic and not made consciously. Nudges have been proposed as an effective way to change behavior and improve outcomes at lower cost than traditional tools across a range of policy areas. With health care spending rising and the National Health Service facing a significant funding gap, it is important to consider ways in which health care might be made more efficient and less wasteful. Given this backdrop, Ipsos MORI was commissioned by the Health Foundation to undertake a quick scoping review, supported and guided by expert interviews, to consider the evidence of and potential for the application of nudge-type interventions to health care for the purpose of improving efficiency and reducing waste.
There is much evidence that suggests the potential for various nudge-type interventions to be successful if suitably applied. However, the evidence available is highly variable in terms of quality, relevance to health care and behavior change impact. Still there is a clear need for more good quality evaluation and synthesized evidence of nudge-type interventions, their behavior change potential and their impact on inefficiency and waste. While nudge-type interventions hold much promise for reducing inefficiency and waste in health care it is important that intervention development clearly builds on existing research and theory.
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