ramen and pickles

science, technology, and medicine served up with some tasty noodles

For Forgetful, Cash Helps the Medicine Go Down – NYTimes.com

There is a nice implementation of behavioral economics here, and not in the giving of money part, but the use of a lottery system of variable prizes being returned.  I suspect, with careful tuning this could be made substantially cheaper.  

This guy kind of blows my mind:  “Skeptics question if payments can be coercive or harm doctor-patient relationships. ???Why should people who don???t want to take medication be paid, when prudent people who take medication are not???? said Dr. George Szmukler, a psychiatry professor at King???s College London.”

He does not get the point of designing systems that interact with humans at all, something deeply disturbing in a someone who studies the mind.  The point is that one individual or a small group of individuals work out a system that makes things easier/better for everyone else.  This allows everyone to put their attention and efforts into other projects and so forth.  This is the way we move forward.  

The point of design is to engineer things around the way people work whenever we can.   Working against (human) nature is always counter productive and foolish, much better to work with nature, and channel it in the direction you want.

Story…

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/14/health/14meds.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

It has long been one of the most vexing causes of America???s skyrocketing health costs: people not taking their medicine.

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Patients who do not take their prescriptions properly can build up big medical bills.
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One-third to one-half of all patients do not take medication as prescribed, and up to one-quarter never fillprescriptions at all, experts say. Such lapses fuel more than $100 billion dollars in health costs annually because those patients often get sicker.

Now, a controversial, and seemingly counterintuitive, effort to tackle the problem is gaining ground: paying people money to take medicine or to comply with prescribed treatment. The idea, which is being embraced by doctors, pharmacy companies, insurers and researchers, is that paying modest financial incentives up front can save much larger costs of hospitalization.

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