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A Spoonful Of Sugar For Better Health

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(credit: Thinkstock)

(credit: Thinkstock)

As Express Scripts explores new ways to help patients activate their good intentions, it’s good to know that not all behavioral science is dry academics. In fact, one of the more effective strategies is known as the Fun Theory.

This theory — at least the popularization of it — comes from Volkswagen, whose brand promises cars that are fun to drive. Volkswagen held a contest for projects that incorporate the Fun Theory in accomplishing a social good — getting people to do what they know they ought to do. These projects have succeeded in getting people to choose stairs over elevators, stop littering, recycle trash, obey the speed limit and buckle their seatbelts.

Another opportunity for fun is through lotteries, and many organizations are taking notice. Employers and governments are activating their constituents’ good intentions by offering them a chance to win a prize. In China, citizens who pay taxes receive a receipt with a scratch-off lottery ticket.

How does the Fun Theory apply to healthcare?

One way to help nudge ourselves in the right direction is to make better behavior feel good now. Move the TV down to the basement, and put it in front of the treadmill. Get a videogame system that builds in physical activity. Attach something fun to every good behavior, and make that fun thing only available to yourself when you’re doing the right behavior.

Healthcare corporations increasingly are engaging audiences in online games — for example, raising global awareness for cancer prevention or educating the public on the need to discover new drugs.

At Express Scripts, we’re looking at ways to bring fun to doing the right thing in the pharmacy benefit. Don’t be surprised to see health plans offering bonus points or chances for a lottery prize for healthy behaviors. Coming to computer screens soon may be games that educate patients about making better decisions for healthier results.

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The content of this post is provided by our sponsor, Express Scripts.

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