Research Design Service: East Midlands
National Institute for Health Research
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Financial incentives for patients

  Created on Tuesday, 14 May 2019. Posted in News Items

It is often not clear how best to help people make healthy changes. In the case of tobacco or alcohol consumption, there is good evidence that financial disincentives, such as increasing sales taxes, do deter these harmful behaviours. But these approaches are not suitable in many situations. There is increasing interest in the use of financial incentives, such as small cash rewards, to promote particular desirable behaviours.

Evidence to date about the effectiveness of financial incentives is mixed. The NIHR has funded a range of studies exploring the use of incentives in different circumstances, and how people feel about them. This Highlight explores this evidence and considers how incentives can be helpful in healthcare, for who and in what circumstances.