Human Behavior – An Active Ingredient for Driving Better Health and Value

Some very exciting news today. For the first time ever, Express Scripts has quantified the hidden healthcare costs of very common behaviors related to prescription drugs.

We estimate that procrastination, forgetfulness, and other everyday behavioral “hiccups” are costing the United States $163 billion dollars a year.

This is both good news and real money: if we each optimized our pharmacy-related behaviors, we could together save enough over the next five years to offset the projected cost of the recently passed national healthcare legislation. And we’d improve health outcomes in the process.

The Express Scripts 2009 Drug Trend Report, released today, documents how the application of the behavioral sciences can positively impact health outcomes and lower costs. It also illustrates how common behaviors – such as change resistance, inattention, and how we take our medications – contribute to the waste, or savings opportunities, we are missing each year. Express Scripts is the first company to apply behavioral science to address healthcare challenges that individuals, policymakers and employers have faced for years.

The good news is that these potential savings in the pharmacy benefit are tied to one of the few factors in healthcare we can readily influence: human behavior, an active ingredient for driving better health and value. We have the tools that can make all the difference, and the behavioral sciences are supplementing those with new approaches that preserve individual member choice.

Genuine, meaningful, and positive change are ours if we want them. Lowering cost and improving health outcomes – goals that all Americans share – depends on behaviors we can all change, today. Healthcare reform starts right in our own homes.

(Note: this entry originally appeared at consumerology.com)

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