Kevin Volpp

Kevin Volpp
  • Founders President’s Distinguished Professor, Medical Ethics and Health Policy
  • Director, Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, Leonard Davis Institute
  • Professor of Medicine
  • Professor of Health Care Management

Contact Information

  • office Address:

    Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics
    1120 Blockley Hall 423 Guardian Drive
    Philadelphia, PA 19104-6021

Research Interests: aetna foundation, aramark, cdc, cvs caremark, discovery (south africa), financial incentives, hewlett foundation, mckinsey, nhlbi, nia, niddk, research interests and funding sources:behavioral economics and health, rwj

Links: CV, Personal Website

Overview

Dr. Volpp is the founding Director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics (CHIBE), Division Chief of Health Policy for the Department of Medical Ethics and Policy, and the Founders President’s Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the Perelman School of Medicine and Health Care Management at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He has led CHIBE since its inception turning it into an entity that involves more than 90 faculty members and trainees across the University of Pennsylvania and which was 1 of 2 original NIH Centers nationally on behavioral economics and health.

Dr. Volpp’s work focuses on developing and testing innovative ways of applying insights from behavioral economics in improving patient health behavior and increasing value in the health system by influencing provider performance. He has competitively been awarded more than $70 million to lead projects with a variety of employers, insurers, health systems, and consumer companies in testing the impact of different behavioral economic strategies on behavior.

Dr. Volpp has published more than 250 articles, book chapters, and commentaries, and his work has served as the foundation for numerous widely implemented programs such as benefit design initiatives using financial incentives for smoking cessation among GE and CVS employees, a prescription refill synchronization program for Humana members, a simple health insurance plan called “Humana Simplicity”, and an ‘enhanced active choice’ approach used among tens of millions of CVS members to increase the ease of receiving automated medication refills.

Dr. Volpp’s work has been recognized by a number of career achievement awards including the Matilda White Riley Award by the Office of Social and Behavioral Science at NIH, the John Eisenberg Award from the Society of General Internal Medicine, and the Association for Clinical and Translational Science Distinguished Investigator Award for Clinical and Translational Science. Volpp is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, an editorial board member for the NEJM Catalyst, and a principal of the behavioral economics consulting firm VAL Health.

Education

PhD, University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 1998; MD, University of Pennsylvania 1998; AB, Harvard College, 1989

Recent Consulting/Advisory Boards

CVS Caremark, VAL Health
World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on Behavior

Editorial Boards

JAMA Contributing writer
Health Care: Delivery Science and Innovation

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Research

Teaching

Current Courses

  • HCIN608 - Value & Benefit Design

    This is a pairing of two 3-week course topics. In "Driving Value in the System," you will engage in understanding the current goals of improving value--defined by quality over costs--in the health care system and drivers of improved value. After hearing from experts in the field about their experiences, you will be able to understand the different payor drivers to increase value, measure quality and cost, deliver an elevator speech for resources, and select tools to implement a value-improvement project. In "Health Insurance and Benefit Design," you will discuss some of the main challenges facing health insurers, efforts to reduce growth in entitlement spending, and research that muses on the effectiveness of different strategies to modify behavior through the use of incentives embedded within health insurance design.

    HCIN608001

    HCIN608002

Past Courses

  • HCIN602 - BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS

    Behavioral economics is a relatively new field at the intersection of economics and psychology. This course offers an introduction to behavioral economics and its applications to health and health care. In it, we will examine the key conceptual underpinnings of the field. We will discuss in detail the structure of the choice environment and the ways that people are influenced by how choices are structured. We will consider the design of incentives and various approaches used to "supercharge" incentive programs using behavioral economics principles. We will consider the use of social incentives and social comparisons as a way of achieving better physician performance. We will conclude with a description of how behavioral economics is used in public policy, as well as the interesting question of when a "nudge" becomes a shove.

  • HCIN605 - APPLYING BEHAVIORAL ECON

    Analyze a case, define a behavioral economics intervention, sketch a behavioral roadmap, and write a proposal for the intervention.

  • HCIN608 - VALUE & BENEFIT DESIGN

    This is a pairing of two 3-week course topics. In "Driving Value in the System," you will engage in understanding the current goals of improving value--defined by quality over costs--in the health care system and drivers of improved value. After hearing from experts in the field about their experiences, you will be able to understand the different payor drivers to increase value, measure quality and cost, deliver an elevator speech for resources, and select tools to implement a value-improvement project. In "Health Insurance and Benefit Design," you will discuss some of the main challenges facing health insurers, efforts to reduce growth in entitlement spending, and research that muses on the effectiveness of different strategies to modify behavior through the use of incentives embedded within health insurance design.

  • HCMG899 - INDEPENDENT STUDY

    Arranged with members of the Faculty of the Health Care Systems Department. For further information contact the Department office, Room 204, Colonial Penn Center, 3641 Locust Walk, 898-6861.

  • HPR 951 - HPR THESIS I

    Each student completes a mentored research project that includes a thesis proposal and a thesis committee and results in a publishable scholarly product. Prerequisite: Course only open to Masters of Science in Health Policy Research students.

  • HPR 952 - HPR THESIS II

    Each student completes a mentored research project that includes a thesis proposal and a thesis committee and results in a publishable scholarly product. Prerequisite: Course only open to Masters of Science in Health Policy Research students.

Awards and Honors

2014-2016 World Economic Forum – chosen to serve on Global Advisory Council on Behavior
2014 Luigi Mastroiaonni Clinical Innovations Award (with David Asch for Way to Health software platform), Penn Medicine
2015 Matilda White Riley Award For Contributions to Social and Behavioral Science, 20th anniversary of the Office of Social and Behavioral Sciences Research, NIH
2015 Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) Distinguished Investigator Award for Translation from Clinical Use into Public Benefit and Policy. “Award for Career Achievement and Contribution to Clinical and Translational Science”
2016 Article-of-the-Year Award, “Effect of Financial Incentives on Physicians, Patients, or Both on Lipid Levels”, Academy Heath Annual Meeting, Boston, MA
2017 50@50 notable People, Papers, and Events from the UPENN Leonard Davis Institute’s First Half-Century Award for 2009 New England Journal of Medicine article and 2010 British Medical Journal Group Award for Translating Research into Practice
2018 John McGovern, M.D. Award for ‘exemplary service to academic medicine’ from Association of Academic Health Centers
2019 John Eisenberg National Award for Career Achievement in Research, Society of General Internal Medicine
2019 ACP Behavioral Medicine Award, American College of Physicians
2019 Michael O’Donnell Article-of-the-Year, American J of Hlth Promotion (for John L, Troxel AB, Yancy W et al. The Effect of Cost Sharing on an Employee Weight Loss Program: A Randomized Trial. Am J Hlth Promotion 2018;32(1): 170-176). Role: Senior author
  • Elected to Association of American Physicians (AAP), 2012
  • Elected to Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (IOM), 2012
  • Philadelphia Business Journal Innovation Award, 2012
  • British Medical Journal Group Awards for “Translating Research into Practice” for work on Financial Incentives and Smoking Cessation implemented by General Electric nationally for 152,000 employees January, 2010
  • Society of General Internal Medicine Outstanding Research Paper of the Year for Volpp KG, Troxel AB, Pauly MV, et al. New England Journal of Medicine; 2009; 360:699-709, 2010
  • Time Magazine Most Significant Advances in Health 2009 A-Z. Work descibed under “I” for “Incentives”, 2009
  • Elected to American Society of Clinical Investigation (ASCI), 2008
  • Best Paper Award – AcademyHealth Annual R esearch Meeting (with A Rosen, P Romano, P Rosenbaum, J Silber) – “Impact of ACGME Duty Hours on Mortality Among Patients in VA Hospitals” – one of three highest rated abstracts our of about 1700 submitted., 2007
  • Alice S. Hersh New Investigator Award, AcademyHealth, for “exceptional promise for future contributions to health services research”, 2007
  • Society of General Internal Medicine Outstanding Junior Investigator Award, 2006
  • John Thompson Award from Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) for outstanding accomplishments in health services research as a junior investigator, 2006
  • Presidential Award for Early Career Scientistis and Engineers (PECASE) – recognized at White House by President Bush with highest honor given by US government for early career scientists, 2005
  • Association for Clinical and Translational Science (ACTS) Distinguished Investigator Award for Translation from Clinical Use into Public Benefit and Policy. “Award for Career Achievement and Contribution to Clinical and Translational Science”, 1970
  • Matilda White Riley Award For Contributions to Social and Behavioral Science, 20th anniversary of the Office of Social and Behavioral Sciences Research, NIH, 1970
  • Article-of-the-Year Award, “Effect of Financial Incentives on Physicians, Patients, or Both on Lipid Levels”, Academy Heath Annual Meeting, Boston, MA, 1970
  • World Economic Forum – chosen to serve on Global Advisory Council on Behavior, 1970

In the News

Knowledge @ Wharton

Activity

Latest Research

Colman Humphrey, Dylan Small, Shane T. Jensen, Kevin Volpp, David A. Asch, Jingsan Zhu, Andrea B. Troxel (2019), Modeling Lottery Incentives for Daily Adherence, Statistics in Medicine, 38 (15), pp. 2847-2867.
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In the News

When — and How — Should the U.S. Economy Reopen?

Measures to protect the population while easing the county’s economic burden could include everything from electronic surveillance to radically altered work environments. Wharton experts weigh the options.

Knowledge @ Wharton - 2020/05/12
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Awards and Honors

Elected to Association of American Physicians (AAP) 2012
All Awards