Incentives boost compliance rates, study finds

NORWALK, Conn. — Looking to boost medication compliance rates for patients? Cash incentives and interactive games might be a key.

That’s the finding from HealthPrize Technologies, a Web-based software company that conducted a feasibility study gauging how incentives and games can assist in increasing medication compliance. The company found that average compliance rates for patients given those incentives was 88%.

“The results overwhelmingly showed that people are highly likely to stick with their medication regimens if they are rewarded for doing so, and if the program is engaging and fun,” noted HealthPrize. The one-month study was conducted on the company’s online platform.

The 88% adherence rate is significant, said a company representative, “considering that none of the subjects were lost to follow-up or otherwise excluded from analysis, a common occurrence in other adherence studies that often results in a bias toward artificially high compliance rates that are unrealistic in the real world,” the representative added.

HealthPrize engaged 20 subjects for the study. The patients registered online and engaged with Version 1.0 of the company’s online and mobile program for one month, reporting their compliance via the method of their choice (response to daily text or e-mail, or via their personal online HealthPrize dashboard or mobile application).

Participants earned points for self-reporting their compliance, engaging in weekly quizzes and surveys and “cracking open” daily educational “fortune cookies,” according to the company.

“Fun is not a word you hear in health care very often, and we’d like to change that,” said Katrina Firlik, co-founder and chief medical officer of HealthPrize. “The ‘Engagement Engine’ we’ve built is a comprehensive platform that leverages the combined power of incentives, education and reminders inspired by game dynamics and behavioral economics. Behavior change does not have to be a bitter pill.”

One participant, a long-time healthcare consultant, admitted that with HealthPrize he was more compliant with his medication, a statin, than he had ever been before, the company reported. “HealthPrize provided insights and facts about my condition and medication that I wasn’t aware of,” the participant said. “It helped to keep my medication top-of-mind, and it was fun earning points.”

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