Behavioural Design is Changing the Role And Impact of Healthcare

Healthcare systems are finding new effective ways to get people to adopt a healthier lifestyle in order to address the rising cost of chronic conditions. To improve the chances of success, a new person-centric approach to behaviour change is being taken thus, focusing on prevention.

The shift in global healthcare, is being driven by the ageing population and increasing incidences of behaviourally induced chronic decisions. According to the World Health Organization (WHO) “the major causes of chronic diseases are known, and if these risk factors were eliminated, at least 80% of all heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes would be prevented; over 40% of cancer would be prevented.”

To encourage a sustainable change a person-focused paradigm recognising human decision making influenced by habits, social norms and systematic cognitive biases must be implemented. However, creating and enforcing programmes allowing people to achieve sustainable behaviour change is not easy. Due to poor programme designs, implementation issues and insufficient measurement rigor, few programmes have made a successful impact. However, there is potential for this to change if the design paradigm is rethought.

This begins with taking advantage of new insights from behavioural economics and psychology in order to engage individuals more effectively. It is imperative that the health industry understands how healthcare consumers make rational and irrational decisions by using educational tools and technology.

In addition to this, health systems need to implement new delivery and care methods by integrating behavioural change as a core component of prevention. To succeed new models must extend the reach, to support patient behavioural change beyond traditional clinician-patient interactions. Therefore, calling for new research techniques which includes clinical workflow tools to support patient targeting, enhanced care management and communication support for patients. The focus must be on a person and their willingness to change and adopt a patient-centred approach.

Thanks to technology, behavioural health interventions are moving from traditional to digital platforms. This has enabled real-time analytics, patient empowerment, information access and much-needed attention to prevention.

Mobile technologies are increasingly being used in public health practice and in healthcare to educate, monitor and communicate with patients to facilitate agreements with the treatment of chronic diseases. This has the ability to increase reach, improve efficiency and accelerate the development of digital health interventions.

Another way for Healthcare providers to restructure the person-focused paradigm is to support behaviour change by using the power of networks and influencers. According to a study by McKinsey, when dealing with a health event, 86% of the time people follow the treatment advice of their friends and family. It is important for health promoters to recognise the power of these influencers and use this information to continue to bring more positive changes into healthcare.

Healthcare will fail in their pursuit to lower healthcare costs if they do not find ways to get people to change their behaviour.  The foundation of designing working interventions is to get to the core of what influences health related behaviour by combining ethnographic research, surveys and social listening. This will lead healthcare companies to put better strategies in place to encourage people to make healthier decisions. How we act will determine progress of the cautious healthcare approach. In the future this will contribute to the success of life science companies and contribute to the delivery of health outcomes.