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Sunday, June 13, 2021

How to Nudge People Into Getting Tested for the Coronavirus

In a randomized clinical trial of almost 5,000 emergency room sufferers, researchers discovered that the share of sufferers who have been prepared to take a speedy H.I.V. check climbed to 66 p.c from 38 p.c when the check was offered as a medical service that they had to intentionally decline, fairly than one that they had to proactively ask for.

Similarly, coronavirus screening applications are extra possible to see wider participation if they’re opt-out fairly than opt-in. “The more you ask people to put in their own cognitive efforts and behavioral efforts into this, the less likely they’re going to do it,” mentioned Derek Reed, who directs the utilized behavioral economics laboratory at the University of Kansas.

And, after all, the precise testing course of ought to be fast and handy, specialists say, with strategically situated testing websites and streamlined procedures that enable folks to simply incorporate testing into their routines.

Experts additionally steered asking folks to suppose by means of the logistics of when and the way they plan to get examined. Studies present that individuals who clearly formulate a plan for how they intend to accomplish one thing — whether or not it’s voting in an upcoming election or getting a flu vaccine — are extra possible to follow-through.

One risk, Dr. Reed mentioned, could be to textual content folks reminders of their testing appointments, and ask them to reply with, say, a 1 in the event that they plan to stroll to the appointment, a 2 in the event that they plan to drive or a 3 in the event that they plan to take the bus. “And then depending on the response, you just automatically ping back Google map directions or a link to campus or community bus system maps or timetables,” he mentioned.

These sorts of nudges are possible to be handiest for people who find themselves already motivated to get examined however could have bother following by means of. “Often you need to nudge them a little bit by just removing frictions to get rid of these small costs,” mentioned Sebastian Linnemayr, a behavioral economist at the RAND Corporation, a suppose tank in California.

Health officers may additionally reward individuals who take part in testing applications. “There probably needs to be some sort of incentive at the patient level,” Dr. May mentioned. “We’ve seen the same thing in cancer screening. We’ve seen health insurers provide incentives to patients to participate in healthy lifestyles, to participate in screening measures.”

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