Dr. Volpp’s work focuses on developing and testing innovative ways of applying insights from behavioral economics in improving patient health behavior and affecting provider performance. He leads the Penn LDI Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics, 1 of 2 NIH Centers on behavioral economics and health in the United States as well as (with Karen Glanz) the Penn CDC Prevention Research Center. He is the Vice Chair for Health Policy in the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the Perelman School of Medicine. He has published more than 175 papers based on work with a wide range of employers, insurers, health systems, and consumer companies in the US and overseas in testing the effectiveness of different behavioral economic strategies in improving health behavior and health outcomes. These studies have been funded by the National Institutes of Aging as well as the National Heart Lung, Blood Institute; the National Cancer Institute; the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disorders; the CDC;VA Health Services Research and Development; the US Department of Agriculture; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; the Hewlett Foundation; the Commonwealth Foundation; the Aetna Foundation; Mckinsey; CVS Caremark; Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield; Humana; Aramark; Discovery (South Africa); Hawaii Medical Services Association; Merck; and Weight Watchers. His work has garnered numerous awards including career achievement awards from NIH for his work on social and behavioral sciences and election into the National Academy of Medicine.
PhD, University of Pennsylvania (Wharton) 1998; MD, University of Pennsylvania 1998; AB, Harvard College, 1989
CVS Caremark, VAL Health
World Economic Forum Global Advisory Council on Behavior
JAMA Contributing writer
Health Care: Delivery Science and Innovation
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.
Hengchen Dai, David Mao, Jason Riis, Kevin Volpp, Michael J. Relish, Victor F. Lawnicki, Katherine L. Milkman (2017), Effectiveness of Medication Adherence Reminders Tied to “Fresh Start” Dates: A Randomized Clinical Trial, Journal of the American Medical Association: Cardiology, 2 (4), pp. 453-455.
Hengchen Dai, David Mao, Kevin Volpp, Heather E. Pearce, Michael J. Relish, Victor F. Lawnicki, Katherine L. Milkman (2017), The effect of interactive reminders on medication adherence: A randomized trial, Preventive Medicine, 103, pp. 98-102. 10.1016/j.ypmed.2017.07.019
Heather Schofield, J. Kopsic, Kevin Volpp, George Loewenstein (2015), Comparing the effectiveness of individualistic, altruistic, and competitive incentives in motivating completion of mental exercises, Journal of Health Economics, 44, pp. 286-299.
Abstract: This study examines the impact of individually oriented, purely altruistic, and a hybrid of competitive and cooperative monetary reward incentives on older adults’ completion of cognitive exercises and cognitive function. We find that all three incentive structures approximately double the number of exercises completed during the six-week active experimental period relative to a no incentive control condition. However, the altruistic and cooperative/competitive incentives led to different patterns of participation, with significantly higher inter-partner correlations in utilization of the software, as well as greater persistence once incentives were removed. Provision of all incentives significantly improved performance on the incentivized exercises. However, results of an independent cognitive testing battery suggest no generalizable gains in cognitive function resulted from the training.
G Loewenstein, J Price, Kevin Volpp (2015), Habit Formation in Children: Evidence from Incentives for Healthy Eating Journal of Health Economics, J Health Econ , 45, pp. 47-54.
Ezekiel J. Emanuel, P. Ubel, Judd B. Kessler, G. Meyer, R. Muller, Amol Navathe, P. Patel, R. Pearl, MB Rosenthal, L. Sacks, AP Sen, P. Sherman, Kevin Volpp (2015), Using Behavioral Economics to Design Physician Incentives that Deliver High Value Care, Annals of Internal Medicine, 24, pp. 1-7.
Kevin Volpp (2015), ACA-mandated elimination of cost sharing for preventive screening has had limited early impact, Journal of Manged Care, 21 (7), pp. 511-517.
Scott Halpern, Benjamin French, Dylan Small, Kathryn Saulsgiver, Michael Harhay, Janet Audrain-McGovern, George Loewenstein, Troyen Brennan, David A. Asch, Kevin Volpp (2015), Randomized Trial of Four Financial-Incentive Programs for Smoking Cessation, New England Journal of Medicine, 372, pp. 2108-2117.
Benjamin French, Dylan Small, Julie Novak, Kathryn Saulsgiver, Michael Harhay, David A. Asch, Kevin Volpp, Scott Halpern (2015), Preference-Adaptive Randomization in Comparative Effectiveness Studies, Trials, 16 (99), pp. 1-9.
Mitesh Patel, Kevin Volpp, Dylan Small, Alexander Hill, Orit Even-Shoshan, Lisa Rosenbaum, Richard Ross, Lisa Bellini, Jingsan Zhu, Jeffrey H. Silber (2014), Association of the 2011 ACGME Resident Duty Hour Reforms With Mortality and Readmissions Among Hospitalized Medicare Patients, Journal of the American Medical Association, 312 (22), pp. 2364-2373.
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.
Analyze a case, define a behavioral economics intervention, sketch a behavioral roadmap, and write a proposal for the intervention.
Recent efforts to increase the amount of health produced through health insurance benefits relative to the cost have utilized a number of strategies. These have included high deductible plans, price transparency, value-based insurance design, simplifying health plan designs, and providing incentives geared to influencing utilization. In this course, we will discuss some of the main challenges facing health insurers, efforts to reduce growth in entitlement spending, and research that focuses on the effectiveness of different strategies to modify behavior through the use of incentives embedded within health insurance design. This course will emphasize both understanding and practical applications of thisknowledge through a combination of lectures and interviews with expert practitioners. Following completion of this course, students will have a deeper understanding of some of the tradeoffs inherent in the approaches insurers are taking to provide greater value and health improvement for their beneficiaries.
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.
|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|
As companies struggle to contain soaring health care costs, employee smoking remains a challenge. But a recent study by two University of Pennsylvania experts found that cash can be a powerful incentive to help smokers quit.Knowledge @ Wharton - 2018/08/28