How to Nudge People Into Getting Tested for the Coronavirus

In Healthcare On
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Although coronavirus screening is new, researchers in several fields — including behavioral economics, implementation science and health psychology — have spent years studying how to encourage people to engage in other kinds of health-related behaviors, including cancer screening, H.I.V. testing and vaccination. Some of these same strategies, they say, could help health officials design coronavirus screening programs, or even vaccination programs, with better participation rates.

“The reality is that people are going to have to wake up and decide whether this is something they intend to do on any given day or any given week,” said Harsha Thirumurthy, associate director of the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the University of Pennsylvania. “And we know — from lots of examples of people’s decisions to seek testing for other health conditions, or even people’s decisions to engage in other health-related behaviors — that people are constantly weighing the costs and benefits of engaging in these services.”Here are five ways that health officials say can help shift the calculus.

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